Men's Basketball: Huskies fall short at Cincinnati in close game
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 23:02
The No. 22 UConn men’s basketball team took the lead against No. 7 Cincinnati with about 15 minutes to go in the first half.
With eight minutes left in the game, the lead disappeared, and the Huskies lost hold of their chance to knock off the last unbeaten team in American Athletic Conference play. Cincinnati improved to 11-0 in conference play with a 63-58 win at Fifth Third Arena in Ohio.
Shabazz Napier scored 16 points, one of three Huskies in double figures, but UConn was unable to cope with the absence of DeAndre Daniels.
Daniels has not played since Jan. 25, when he suffered a high ankle sprain at Rutgers. Since then, he has been dealing with the ankle injury and back pain. The junior forward was originally expected to start Thursday night, but the decision was ultimately made to keep him off the court.
Graduate student Lasan Kromah started in Daniels’ place. The transfer from George Washington scored 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting, grabbed two rebounds and had three assists.
UConn (17-5, 5-4 American) was unable to stop Cincinnati standout Sean Kilpatrick. A frontrunner for AAC Player of the Year, Kilpatrick scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. After Amida Brimah gave the Huskies the lead again from the foul line, Kilpatrick put Cincinnati (22-2, 11-0 American) ahead for good on a 3-pointer with 5:19 to play.
Cincinnati’s stingy defense has been a nightmare for opponents all season, and UConn was no exception. Typically one of the best shooting teams on any given night, the Huskies were held to 39.2 percent shooting and — more alarmingly —only shot 5-for-21 from behind the 3-point line.
UConn will head to Orlando this weekend to take on Central Florida Sunday evening. The Knights (9-11, 1-8 American) are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak that began on Jan. 11 at Gampel Pavilion, when Brimah scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an 84-61 UConn win.
The Knights looked to be on the verge of ending their losing ways Wednesday night, but faltered both at the end of regulation and in overtime in a 79-78 home loss against in-state conference rival South Florida.
Sunday’s game will tip off at 6 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.