Fifth Place: Ray Allen vs. Allen Iverson
Before they racked up 21 NBA All-Star appearances between them, Ray Allen and Allen Iverson were standouts at their respective Big East schools. Allen, a three-year star at Connecticut, set a school record for three pointers and wound up third on the Huskies' career scoring list. Iverson, who played two years at Georgetown after a rocky end to his high school career, became the Hoya's all-time leader in scoring average.
In 1996, both players were at the top of the college game. Iverson had been the Big East Rookie of the Year a season before and wound up a First Team All American in his sophomore campaign. Not to be outdone, Allen also earned consensus All-America recognition in addition to winning the Big East Player of the Year award. The two players seemed destined to meet in the finals of the Big East Tournament, playing on the top teams in the conference.
UCONN and Allen made short work of their opponents on the way to the championship game, while Georgetown survived a semifinal test against Kerry Kittles' Villanova Wildcats to set up a date with destiny.
Leading 74-63 with just under five minutes left, Georgetown seem to have the game in hand. But a 10-0 run sparked by Kirk King put the Huskies back in contention. Allen, held scoreless in the second half after 15 early points, takes the hand-off near the top of the key with Iverson smothering him. Three dribbles, Iverson gets him in the air, Allen looks to pass, then shoots... and rattles it home.
Iverson, unfazed with 13 seconds left on the clock, dribbles crosscourt to try to provide an answer. He tries to go right, gets cut off by Doron Sheffer, takes it left to the foul line, elevates... and misses. The Hoyas get a second chance but it is off the mark as well.
Ultimately, its a game that would stand the test of time. Not just for the excitement of the moment, but for what it would mean in the future. Ray Allen and Allen Iverson impacted the pro game for the next decade in a half. For a shorter time, they held the Big East basketball world in their hands and certainly left an impact.