For UConn, there's little consolation

Jessica Hill/ AP Photo Otto Porter Jr. of Georgetown, left, celebrates with teammate Aaron Brown after hitting the game-winning shot in double overtime to give the seventh-ranked Hoyas a dramatic 79-78 victory over UConn at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies rallied back from a double-digit deficit to force OT, but allowed Georgetown to score the game's final eight points after leading by seven in the second overtime.

Storrs - On the verge of a heart-stopping win, UConn suffered a heart-breaking defeat instead Wednesday night.

No. 7 Georgetown made the biggest play in a drama-filled Big East game as sophomore Otto Porter Jr. scored on a driving layup with 9.5 seconds left in double overtime to send UConn to defeat, 79-78, before a sold-out Gampel Pavilion.

This one really hurt.

The Huskies stormed back from a 12-point deficit with 4:36 left in regulation to force overtime but couldn't hold on after taking a 78-71 edge with two minutes remaining in the second overtime.

"It was a very, very, very emotional game," sophomore Ryan Boatright said. "These losses are the toughest because you fight so hard to win the game."

Boatright had the game's last shot, racing down court after Porter's basket, but he misfired from 3-point range after dribbling into the corner.

UConn (19-8, 9-6) came so agonizingly close to knocking off Big East leader Georgetown (22-4, 12-3), which extended its winning streak to 10 games.

"Thought I'd seen it all, but I guess I haven't," coach Kevin Ollie said. "Just a great effort from both teams. … I'm very proud of my guys. They fought. They were down 12 and just kept fighting and showed character, showed perseverance and showed heart.

"That's what our team is all about. Our team is all about heart."

Sophomore DeAndre Daniels had a career-best game, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first double-double by a Husky this season. Junior Shabazz Napier, who left the game briefly early in the second half after turning his right ankle, had 16 points while freshman Omar Calhoun added 13 points and seven rebounds and Boatright had 11 points.

Calhoun delivered in the clutch, completing the rousing comeback at the end of regulation by burying a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left.

"It was a tough shot," Calhoun said. "I had a good look at the rim and I was able to knock it down."

The Huskies trailed 62-57 with 10.8 seconds remaining. But Calhoun scored off a rebound and Georgetown's Markel Starks missed the front end of a one-and-one.

After Calhoun's dramatic 3-pointer tie it, teammate Niels Giffey stole the inbounds pass but misfired on an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Neither team could break away in the first overtime. With the score tied at 69-all, Daniels deflected Porter's game winning attempt with 4.8 seconds left. Boatright turned on the jets and came up short on a runner near the foul line at the buzzer.

UConn seized control in the second overtime. Napier and Daniels connected on 3-pointers. Giffey's free throw upped the lead to 78-71 with 2:03 remaining. That would be UConn's last point.

Porter, who had a quiet start before coming to life and scoring 21 of his team-high 22 points after halftime, buried a 3-pointer. The Hoyas got hot from 3-point range, making eight of nine at one point in the second half.

The defensive-minded Hoyas overplayed the perimeter and forced the Huskies into bad decisions. After D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 78-77, Napier turned the ball over.

Trying to catch UConn's defense off-guard, Porter attacked the basket and scored the game winner.

"That was a heck of a basketball game," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Both teams played at a high level. The guys in the other locker room just fought. They could have cashed it in. .. That's a terrific team."

On this night, UConn will have to live with that consolation prize.

The Huskies did so many things right, including holding a 38-28 rebounding edge and sinking 11 3-pointers. But they committed 18 turnovers overall.

In the end, it wasn't enough. UConn fell to 4-2 in overtime games this season, tying a team record for most extra sessions in a season.

"I wish we could have pulled it out," Ollie said. "Everything happens for a reason. This reason is teaching another life lesson for this book that we write. It's another chapter. We're going to go to Cincinnati (Saturday) and play with heart there."

g.keefe@theday.com

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