Tonawanda News —
In the first game of the night session, the Connecticut Huskies got all they could handle from the St. Joseph's Hawks.
But, like great players tend to do, senior guard Shabazz Napier made the big plays when his team needed them most, en route to an 89-81 overtime win.
Napier only managed eight points in the first half and knew he had to make an impact in the final 20 minutes to give his team a chance to win.
"You know, the first half went by so fast. I was in the locker room, and I was just telling myself, 'Man, I got to do something because my teammates need it.'" Napier said. " And at the end of the day, this may be my last game.
"My teammates helped me. They willed me, like they have been throughout the whole season," he continued. "Guys are telling me, Shabazz, keep going. Keep shooting. You're going to make the next shot. And they willed me."
Napier scored 19 of his team-high 24 points in the second half and overtime period. With just over three minutes to go he took over, sinking a pair of free throws and then finishing after a foul at the rim for an and one. The Huskies led 80-73 at that point and coasted the rest of the way.
St. Joseph's senior Langston Galloway was the star for the Hawks. He finished with a game-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers. He had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation with the score tied, but missed an off balance runner.
At times in the first half of the final game at FNC Thursday night, the heavy underdog No. 15-seed Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers had those remaining in attendance excited for another possible upset.
But the Wildcats kept their composure and, despite shooting 0-for-11 from three-point range, took a 27-23 advantage into the locker room at halftime. The Gazette press deadline crept up quick after the overtime matchup between St. Joe's and Connecticut. We apologize for the incomplete update.
The Panthers struggled in the half court set in the first half, shooting a dismal 27 percent from the field. Wisconsin-Milwaukee only managed four two-point baskets, but luckily were able to drill five from beyond the arc to stay within striking distance.