Goodwin's jumper late stuns Huskies, 54-53

By TSGfeatAJ
Mar. 06, 2015

Memphis Tigers celebrate after sweeping season series against UCONN.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Storrs, CT – If Memphis Tigers fans have anything to cheer about this season, then look no further than beating the defending NCAA champs twice in one season. The University of Memphis Tigers (18-12, 10-7 in American Athletic Conference) once again took down the Connecticut Huskies (17-12, 10-7 in AAC) 54-53 in a very tough physical contest for the fifth seed and final bye in next week’s AAC tournament at UCONN with Shaq Goodwin’s go-ahead jumper with 8.1 seconds left that would eventually become the game winner for Memphis.

The Tigers throttled the Huskies early, jumping out to an early 16-4 lead thanks to sharp shooting from behind the arc by starting point guard Kedren Johnson and forward Trashon Burrell, and emphatic dunks by Calvin Godfrey. But once the game started to get physical, UCONN slowly chipped away at the Tigers’ biggest lead, which got up to 13 – and both teams were eventually tied at the break at 26 apiece. But when it came money time in the end, and although junior forward Burrell was having a career night – en route to 22 points, head coach Josh Pastner went to former McDonald’s High School All-American and elder statesman on the team, Shaq Goodwin – and power forward from Atlanta delivered.

“When coach (Pastner) called me and said, 'Shaq, we're coming to you,' I got excited,” Goodwin said. “He said, 'Shaq, we're coming to you,' and I said, 'Oh, definitely. That's what I've been looking for.”

Goodwin’s jumper gave the Memphis fan base a slim hope that they could possibly run the table and finish the regular season out at Cincinnati with a victory, and then win the AAC tournament in order to get into this year’s field of 68– that’s the only hope to get in for the Tigers.

Memphis won despite a large disparity at the free throw line between the two teams. While the Huskies shot 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) from the line, the Tigers only shot two foul shots – going 2-for-2. But the undermanned Tigers, who were again without leading scorer and the NCAA’s second leading shot-blocker sophomore Austin Nichols, the Tigers outrebounded the bigger Huskies, 40-34 on the glass and also outshot them from the field going 39.7 percent to Connecticut’s 27.8 percent. The surprisingly inconsistent Tigers also shot a healthy 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from three-point range, compared to the dreadful 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) for the Huskies.

“I’m very proud of our young men,” Pastner said. “Coming off two losses, the sky is falling in Memphis; a lot of doubters coming into this week. For our guys to fight, grind, push through and find a way to get a victory in a hostile environment on Senior Day with our backs against the wall and UConn making those runs, I'm very proud of our young men.”

Shaq Goodwin's game-winning jumper: