Making their return to the NCAA tournament—the scene of so many past glories—the UConn Huskies showed on Thursday night, that while they might not receive the same recognition as teams in years past, they are definitely a resilient bunch.
The Huskies trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, went into halftime down by five and came out ready to roll in the second half. They didn't get swallowed up in the pressure and kept hitting shots when they had to in order to remain within striking distance.
Shabazz Napier began the game by missing six of his first eight shots for just five first-half points. With the conventional wisdom that the Huskies cannot win unless he's making shots floating around this team all season, it must've had a bit of a psychological impact to see their star player struggling so much early.
But if you thought the team would quit, then you obviously don't know a whole lot about their head coach.
Kevin Ollie has brought a certain toughness and resiliency back with him to his alma mater, and his team plays with the same type of grit and determination that were hallmarks of his playing career.
With Napier struggling, other players stepped up. The Huskies kept it close and got the game to overtime, where they finally wore down their foe and pulled away.
It wasn't their best 45 minutes of basketball, but this time of year it's about showing you have the heart and character to get the job done.
And the Huskies most certainly showed that on Thursday night.