STORRS — Perhaps it was luck that got the ball into Shabazz Napier's hands in the final second against Florida.

Maybe it was just a matter of getting good breaks so Yogi Ferrell, Olivier Hanlan and Dez Wells all missed shots in the final seconds, too.

But add up the "luck" and "breaks" and there's a pattern — UConn is creating its own good fortune with its tenacity.

"The last play was really a fluke play," Florida coach Billy Donovan said, describing the sequence ending in Napier's winning basket Monday night. "I don't think DeAndre Daniels knew [he was tipping it to Napier]. But it was a great play by him to just keep the possession alive. The difference in the game, a couple of loose-ball rebounds — three of them — that really hurt us: two on the one possession that Napier got the four-point play on, and, of course, the last possession."

There, it seems, lies the tale of the Huskies' 8-0 start, which includes four victories that were decided on the last possession. UConn was outmuscled by the Gators, outrebounded 36-28, but with the game on the line they would not be outhustled.

"They got 11 offensive rebounds on us," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said, "and, coincidentally, we get an offensive rebound to win the game. You go figure it out."

The No. 12 Huskies have put themselves in a strong position, putting "money in the bank," Ollie frequently says, with wins over Maryland (78-77), Boston College (72-70), Indiana (59-58) and Florida (65-64), four power conference opponents that figure to go on and win a lot of games, boosting UConn's RPI for the tournament. If none of those wins, taken individually, was convincing, the cumulative effect should be.

"We've just got tremendous heart," Napier said after the emotional win over Florida. "We believe in every opportunity we get, we're going to be successful. We're not a great team right now. We want to be a great team. Coach Ollie always says, 'Without struggle, there's no progress.' This was a big win for us, super big. We found a way."

This "find a way" mentality began growing last season when the Huskies were ineligible for the postseason but played each of their 30 games as if it were an elimination game. They went to overtime seven times and won five. They came from 10 points behind or more to win numerous times.

"This wasn't just last year," Ollie said. "These guys have been playing basketball a long time, they've been learning how to win their whole lives."

In UConn's first three cliffhanger wins, it was about hanging on. They nearly blew a 17-point lead against Maryland, but even though Napier had fouled out, they clung to their lead and refused to give Wells an open look on the last possession. They led BC by 11 but stopped the Eagles on their last three possessions. Hanlan missed a tough shot with nine seconds left and Lonnie Jackson's shot at the buzzer was blocked by Ryan Boatright.

Against Indiana, UConn came from behind and took the lead. Ollie put Lasan Kromah on Ferrell, who was forced to settle for a difficult last shot and missed.

Florida was different. The Huskies were down three when they grabbed two offensive rebounds and finally took the lead when Napier hit a three-pointer, and completed a four-point play, with 33.5 seconds left.

"That was a grown man's game," Daniels said. "We stayed through adversity when our big [guys] were out with foul trouble. We just wanted to keep playing, box out."

Said Napier: "Coach Ollie told us we weren't going to win the rebounding battle, which you can see we didn't. We needed to find other ways to win."

UConn was down one with 17.7 seconds left when Napier tried again and missed, but his determined teammate, Daniels, tipped the ball back to him for the winning shot.

"Some way they do it," Ollie said. "You look at this stat sheet, I don't know how we do it. [Florida] shoots 49 percent and they outrebound us and at the end of the day we get it done. That's a magical team over there. They've been through a lot."