April 5, 2004 (San Antonio) - This night deep in the heart of Texas, the UConn Men, the Preseason Number One Team in the Country that battled thru injury and some trying times in the 2003-04 season, imposed their will en route to the program's second National Championship...Breezing thru the first four games before staging one of the great rallies in Final Four History to beat Duke. One team left to conquer, Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets handed the Huskies it's first loss of the season in the Preseason NIT Semi's at the Garden in November 77-61. Where Emeka Okafor struggled and UConn was just 1 of 10 from three...While Isma'il Mohammed and B.J. Elder combined for 44..
The title game started at a fast pace, which played into UConn's hands..As the Yellow Jackets 12-11 lead would be their last of the evening. Okafor inside, then six points from Ben Gordon started a 10-0 run that ballooned to 21-6 and it was 32-18 that quick with Gordon leading the way with 12. Even Talik Brown had scored 5 straight points with a three and scooping layup.The Inside - outside duo of Emeka & Ben led the Huskies to a 41-26 halftime lead. 41% Shooting and 11/15 from the line.
And then with Tech starting to make shots at 45-30 to keep it respectable, the balanced attack of the Huskies took off again, a 15-5 run. Everyone seemingly playing a role, And Josh Boone included, coming off a 14 rebound effort against Duke, had 9p-6r in the title game. But the night belonged to Okafor, a 24p-15r game, complimented by 21 from Gordon and Anderson's 18 was just too much to overcome despite the Jackets late 3 ball onslaught that got them within 9 late.
Taliek's last game a 9 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist game. Okafor and Gordon also playing their last games as Huskies, both declaring for the draft after the championship. Of course this was just the first big day in 2004 for UConn Athletics, there was a double to shoot for in New Orleans the next night with the Women.
Watch this game at UConnHuskyGames.com
(ps: Ben Gordon just went public in the Players Tribune of his recent mental health issues. A terrific read...and glad to hear Ben's made strides. Personally, he had the most beautiful jump shot in UConn BB History. The way he elevated was so much fun to watch)