THROWBACK: Ray Allen’s Incredible Game Winner Wins 1996 Big East Tournament for UConn Huskies Against Allen Iverson and Georgetown

Published 03/07/2021, 1:00 PM EST


Ray Allen and Allen Iverson are two of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. They faced off several times in the league, but their professional rivalry was something that gained massive attention when Allen was playing NCAA Basketball for the UConn Huskies and Iverson was with Georgetown Hoyas. 

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While Iverson just played two seasons with the Hoyas, Allen stayed there till his junior year. These two were conference rivals that had several memorable meetings, but the 1996 Big East Finals remains the best one to date. 

What’s the significance behind the 1996 Big East Final between UConn and Georgetown?

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The Georgetown Hoyas and UConn Huskies formed a heated rivalry after becoming Big East conference members in the 1970s. These two teams produced incredible matchups, but the Hoyas largely dominated the 80s decade with a 16-3 record against UConn. 

They undeniably gained the upper by winning six conference tournament titles during that span which gave them the bragging rights over UConn. 

However, the birth of the 1990s saw Connecticut’s comeback as a powerhouse in the Big East. Ray Allen was a major part of their success ever since making his debut in 1993 and led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament in all of his three seasons. 

As for the 1996 season, the UConn Huskies had built a formidable record (27-2) in the regular season. The first loss came against the Iowa Hawkeyes early in the season, and the second was to Georgetown, an embarrassing 65-77 defeat. 

The Hoyas trapped Ray Allen in that match and exhausted him with their defense. However, the sharpshooter came into the Big East Final seeking redemption. 

Ray Allen hit one of the best shots in the history of UConn Huskies basketball

The 1996 Big East Final was a dramatic one of all sorts. It was between two great rivals, and both Iverson and Allen had a point to prove. The latter got off to a good start in the game but struggled with efficiency soon after. 

Ray Allen missed 14 straight shots which largely hindered UConn’s confidence. On the other hand, Iverson wasn’t too impressive but had his teammates getting the crucial buckets to extend Georgetown’s lead. 

UConn was trailing 74-63 with less than five minutes left and Kirk King rallied back his team to close the lead on Georgetown, and it was Ray Allen who delivered the dagger. Allen had missed his last 14 shots but was comfortable taking the final attempt with just 13.6 seconds left on the clock. 

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Of course, he made an incredible half-balanced jumper which grabbed a place in the history books. Allen’s incredible shot propelled the Huskies to take a one-point lead (75-74) in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter. 

This was the game-winner and the Hoyas didn’t even know it. They had time to recover, but Iverson missed a last-second charge, which crowned the UConn Huskies as the champions of the 1996 Big East Tournament. 

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Arjun Athreya

1811 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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