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SACRAMENTO – The difference between a sports movie and a monotonous life. mundane. The monthly, weekly, daily, minute-by-minute routines, the things you force yourself to do until you quit, the menial tasks you train yourself to accept. A college basketball career is full of them. It is practically made of them. Shooting, Wandering, Weight Lifting, Running, Ice Tub, Studying Movies, Class. ball screen, hedge, drop, close. Move your feet. Make 100 free throws. Make 1,000 3s. repeats.

If you’re doing it right, at the moment of asking, when it’s easier to let go of something, the habits are still there for you. You will know what to do.

Matt Allocco knew what to do. Maybe he was the only one. The arena around him deviated from its axis. fans huffing and puffing; The colors bled. In the corner, Arizona guard Courtney Ramy is on the floor, already crying, and his coach consoles him. Princeton coach Mitch Henderson ran the halfway point. Other wildcats were staring at the scoreboard and chewing their shirts. The Princeton players were jumping in uncertain directions. Arizona missed several shots on its penultimate offensive possession of the game; Princeton made a comeback. Feral cats got it wrong. Golden Center howled 1.

Then Allocco—the last sane man in a monstrous place—put his hands above his head and cried. “HUDDLE!” The Princeton players came out of their trance. Allocco brought them together.

On the cusp of a historic collapse over second-ranked Arizona, Allocco had his moment to deliver a final piece of rousing commentary, a final monologue as strings rattled and the audience was drenched in tears. What did he say?

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“Honestly? Who is guarding whom?” said Aluko. “If we get to level three, what is the coverage?” If we miss here, what will we do? Shall we exchange defense? Does everyone know? “

And here it is. Which is why Princeton won, 59-55.

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(Photo: Kyle Terada/USA Today)

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