Huskies prepare for battle against the Bearcats
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 23:02
After a heartbreaking loss in Storrs on Wednesday night, the UConn men’s basketball team will look to bounce back as they travel to Cincinnati for a Saturday matinee with the Bearcats.
On Wednesday night at Gampel Pavilion, the Huskies led a ferocious comeback in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime, but ultimately fell in double overtime to No.7 Georgetown when National Player of the Year Candidate Otto Porter drove to the lane and converted a layup with 9.5 seconds remaining. Deandre Daniels played perhaps the best game of his career, scoring 25 points while posting 10 rebounds, despite the Huskies falling 79-78.
With the loss, the Huskies dropped to 19-8 on the year and 9-6 in Big East conference play. Despite being banned from postseason play due to the APR sanctions from the NCAA, UConn enters the game seventh in the Big East, only three games behind the conference leading Hoyas.
On the other side, Cincinnati is trying to snap a poorly timed late season slide. The Bearcats have dropped five off their previous six, including a 21-point blowout loss at Notre Dame last time out on Feb. 24.
The Bearcats (19-9, 7-8 Big East) feature, as do several teams in the conference, a dangerous duo in their backcourt with guards Sean Kilpatrick (17.6 ppg) and Cashmere Wright (12.7).
UConn and Cincinnati know each other well as the two teams faced off at the XL Center on Feb. 21. The Bearcats used a 10-2 run to take a six point lead with around four minutes to play, but the Huskies battled back and Shabazz Napier tied the game with 40 seconds left, forcing overtime. In the extra frame, Napier took over. The junior point guard scored 11 of his 27 points in overtime as UConn ran away with a 73-66 victory.
Key to the outcome of the game will be rebounding. In the previous meeting, the Bearcats outrebounded UConn 44-28, including 17 offensive rebounds. It was a team effort on the glass from Cincinnati, as all eleven players who saw playing time collected at least one rebound.
UConn will need another strong performance from Daniels, who is looking to build off of the momentum from his tremendous effort against Georgetown. The sophomore forward is leading the team with 5.1 rebounds per game while also posting an impressive 11.7 ppg average.
The game will tip off at the Fifth Third Arena at 2 p.m.