Words from the fallen: SMU’s win from the Huskies point of view
When the last bits of confetti fell down onto the court in the XL Center, moments after SMU was crowned the American Athletic Conference Tournament Champions, so did the Huskies hopes of dancing.
“We didn’t give it away, they came and took it, and that’s a great team where we faced,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said. “I thought our guys fought again, we just can’t get down by 17 to a team like this and then we try to come back at the end, but you’ve got to play perfect basketball. To Ryan Boatright, our senior and the heart of our team, I just want to thank him for, and I know playing in front of these fans for the last time, he’s just a warrior. I love him to death.”
Boatright struggled in his last game in Hartford, finishing with only seven points.
“I’m just disappointed in my play,” Boatright said. “I missed a lot of shots that should be easy knock-down shots for me. You know, I just ain’t show up and be the player I know I can be, I can be better than that. But my teammates fought, man, they played a tremendous game man. I’m extremely proud of my teammates.This being my last game, I’m just disappointed that I played like that.”
SMU managed to essentially eliminate Boatright from the game. The senior guard said the Mustangs weren’t doing anything special.
“I was just off, just off night for me,” Boatright said. “Missed a few shots, tried to get to the rim, didn’t get to the foul line, them didn’t go my way. Every 3 point shot that I took, I felt was a good look except the ones that I had to take with two, three seconds on the shot clock. But I’m a man though, I can take it, I can take it on the chest. I’m going to move on and keep working.”
Boatright’s journey with the Huskies was a roller-coaster: during his freshman year his eligibility was challenged and the NCAA suspended him for six games because he received “improper benefits.” However, Boatright actually missed nine games as the case was being reviewed.
Boatright teamed up with Shabazz Napier for three seasons to form one of the most dangerous backcourts in college basketball. As a junior the duo helped lead UConn to the final four. Boatright made the 2014 All-Final Four team and the Huskies won the national championship.
Now, after losing to SMU on Sunday that journey is at an end.
“I mean, I can’t really put it into words,” he said. “All I can say is I became a man here at the University of UConn. Came in an 18 year old, immature kid and I’m leaving a grown man. I learned a lot from my teammates and from [Ollie] as a ball player and as a person. I’m just happy and thankful for the opportunity to play at the University of Connecticut.“