January 09, 2011
Had Kemba Walker not erupted in overtime to lead UConn to a 82-81 victory at Texas, Roscoe Smith's embarrassing gaffe at the end of regulation might be remembered as a disastrous mistake and not a hilarious brain cramp.
With the score still tied at 73 apiece after Texas' Gary Johnson's go-ahead layup was blocked by UConn's Alex Oriakhi, Smith grabbed the rebound, took one dribble and hurriedly heaved up an 80-footer to beat the buzzer. Only problem? About 11 seconds remained on the clock, more than enough time for UConn to have dribbled up court and set up its offense.
"I've seen a lot of things in my life," veteran UConn coach Jim Calhoun told reporters after the game. "I've never seen that. I never have, really."
It was surely a lot easier for Calhoun to laugh about Smith's blunder after UConn came up with another defensive stop at the end of regulation and then Walker saved the Huskies in overtime. Walker scored UConn's final seven points of the game including a circus-shot 35-footer at the shot-clock buzzer with just over two minutes remaining and the game-winning pull-up jumper a few possessions later.
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"When I saw the clock, I thought there were two or three seconds left," Smith told the Hartford Courant. "My team -- man, they got on me in the locker room. I glanced at [the clock] and threw it up there. I just saw the clock going real fast."
Aside from that late blunder, Smith had one of his better games of the season, scoring 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting and also grabbing six boards. The freshman forward's teammates insisted they would have forgiven him for his mistake even if UConn had lost the game.
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"No matter what he's still our brother," Shabazz Napier told the Hartford Courant. "It was just a mistake. But luckily we won the game and it went our way. Before that, he was playing good. After that, everyone forgets how good he's playing. He threw that up and everyone was like, 'Oh my god, Roscoe.' But like I said, he's our brother and we all love him."
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