UConn splits season series with Cincinnati
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 22:03
The UConn men’s basketball team split the season series with the Cincinnati Bearcats after a 61-56 loss in Cincinnati on Saturday. UConn (19-9 overall, 9-7 in the Big East) could not overcome the absence of 17.1 points per game from guard Shabazz Napier. Napier injured his right foot, the same foot he had surgery on over the summer, in the double overtime loss to Georgetown on Feb. 27.
However, the Huskies had two chances to tie or take the lead at the end of regulation. The Huskies were down one with 13 seconds left and RJ Evans tried to inbound the ball to sophomore DeAndre Daniels, but it was stolen by Cincinnati junior Sean Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick was immediately fouled and made both free throws.
UConn had a chance to send the game to overtime with a game-tying three-pointer but a Cincinnati double team forced sophomore Ryan Boatright to turn the ball over via a backcourt violation before the Huskies could get a shot off. Cinicinnati’s Cashmere Wright made both free throws to seal the win.
Boatright finished with a game-high 22 points in large part due to sinking 14 of 15 foul shots. Boatright made 4 of 15 shots going 0-4 from three and turned the ball over five times.
Neither Evans, junior Niels Giffey nor freshman Omar Calhoun stepped up to fill the hole left by Napier. The trio had as many turnovers (seven) as points and had a 25 percent shooting percentage. Calhoun scored his only points on a three-pointer on the game’s opening possession.
On the other hand, Daniels continued to play at a high level a game after recording UConn’s first double-double of the season. He had 18 points and eight rebounds in Saturday’s loss.
Freshman Phil Nolan marked career-highs with eight points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Bearcats picked up a résumé-boosting win despite shooting just 30.8 percent from the field and 57 percent from the foul line. They improve to 20-9 overall and 8-8 in the conference after dropping four of its previous five games. Kilpatrick led his team with 20 points on 7 of 16 from the field and grabbed five rebounds. Wright was the only other Cincinnati player to score in double figures after he was shutout until about halfway through the second half.
UConn will go for its tenth conference win and 20th win overall Wednesday at South Florida at 9 p.m.