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Friday, March 13, 2009

Marty Gagne: 6 Overtimes (The Player's Perspective)

On the morning of March 13th, 2009, the entire state of Connecticut dragged itself to work. I would suspect little protest if the legislators deemed this day an official holiday to honor (or memorialize, depending on your pessimism) the epic battle that was previously waged. No lives were lost, but plenty of sleep was. Indeed, last night was a night to remember, and not because of Andy Rautins' faux hawk.

During the game, I received a text message that offered an astounding, yet accurate, summation of the contest. A friend wrote, "this is the single best basketball game I have ever seen." That was after the conclusion of the third overtime.

Luckily, I watched the game at home. I can only imagine fans' disapproval when pubs and sportsbars across the state shut down at 1:00am in accordance with Connecticut laws that govern the operating hours of alcohol institutions on weeknights.

Or imagine the lucky viewer who went to bed before Devendorf's buzzer-beater was reviewed, only to wake up and discover that they spared themselves the six overtimes that were necessary to determine the same outcome. Moreover, that person should be grateful for two less hours of seeing Eric Devendorf. Hailing from 115 miles north of Detroit, he has earned nicknames of "roundball Eminem" and "8-Mile" from within the Syracuse community. And to be quite honest, it wouldn't surprise me if his parents received a fine for littering when they threw him on the street. Furthermore, the fact that his miracle shot was cleared from the record books is proof that God works in mysterious ways.

And with Johnny Flynn and Paul Harris both hailing from Niagra Falls High School, Jim Beoheim would be foolish if he didn't cut a check for the city's Boys and Girls Club. And Rob Garrison, a high school teammate of Flynn and Harris and former UConn guard, is smiling somewhere in upstate New York.

For all intents and purposes, last night's game was a tie. There was no winner; only a survivor. The primary starters played themselves to an even draw, leaving the victor to be crowned by second-string role players. If asked last night, I probably would have been an advocate of instituting a shootout rule (in the mold of corporate-sponsored halftime hotshot contests) to determine the winner. I can visualize Jeff Adrien repeatedly shooting from a mid-range hot spot in order to solidify his shooting touch in scout's minds. Hasheem would be disqualified for attempting more than two lay ups in a row.

In 2006, after we suffered defeat in the Big East tournament at the hands of a Gerry McNamara heave, I can vividly remember the subconscious notion that if we won the big dance, everything would be forgiven. By nature, sports fans have a very short-term memory. If the current team brings home a national championship trophy, images of Eric Devendorf standing atop the scorers table will be a distant recollection, thankfully. To overcome the here-and-now essence of sports, and immediately be written into the history books as true warriors, is a proud accomplishment. Regardless of the season's ultimate outcome, last night's performance should certainly warrant the utmost respect and appreciation from fans... and maybe even a state holiday.


Oops Pow Surprise said...

"All intents and purposes," big guy. Otherwise, great post about a great game.

Jlombo52 said...

Nobody cares about your input on a basketball game you fat slob. Stick to pigskin..

Todd Parmelee said...

Great Commentary on the game. I run a website called if you are interested in checking it out.

MG213 said...

Hey... Jlombo52... read the title, Lunn didn't write this, Marty, a former UConn player.. wrote it..

Anyway, Fantastic comments about Devendorf. "Litter" is by far the most appropriate word to describe him. That kid must be terrified of Vampires, it's only way to explain why someone would have that many crucifix tattoos.

How come when our players steal laptops, they get suspended for a whole semester, or more, but that putz (closed hand) hit a girl, and he's back in 2 games

Bear said...

I was exhausted, and I was just watching. I was text messaging to Boston and Florida as fast as I could, amazed with every moment.

I got a kick out of seeing the players so tired they could hardly move and the walk-on was doing jumping jacks at the top of the key to loosen up.

What a night!!