Bearcats Fall in Storrs

Cincinnati falls to UConn in a turnover filled and poor shooting contest.

The Cincinnati Bearcats (24-5 overall; 13-3 American) who were looking to rebound from a devastating loss at home to their rival the Louisville Cardinals, put up an even poorer offensive output, probably their worst and least efficient of the season against the Huskies (23-6 overall; 11-5 overall). Cincinnati only managed to score a lifeless 45 points compared to UConn's 51.

Sounds like a hard-fought battle right? Well, it was a hard-fought battle, full of turnovers. 20 of UConn's 51 came off of 20 Cincinnati turnovers. Cincinnati also shot 13 for 48 from the field for the game, which tallies into a miserable 27.1% shooting percentage. The lowest part of all the statistics is the fact that UConn didn't score a basket in the last 7 1/2 minutes against No. 11 Cincinnati on Saturday, and still won the game by six.

UConn led by one at halftime. But the Bearcats had just one field goal in the first 7 1/2 minutes after intermission, and Connecticut went on a 13-4 run over the first 11 1/2 minutes of the second half to open up a 39-29 lead. The battle between Shabazz Napier and Sean Kilpatrick ended with Napier scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Kilpatrick scored 16 but struggled all game going 4 for 16 from the field.

UConn's final field goal came with 7:39 left in the game, a Ryan Boatright dunk that made it 41-32. Cincinnati chipped away, cutting the lead to 45-42 on a pair of free throws by Shaquille Thomas. The Bearcats had the ball trailing 47-43 with 36 seconds left. But Phil Nolan stepped in front of a Kilpatrick drive to the basket, drawing a controversial charging foul. It was one of 39 fouls called in the game.

The win was the first for the Huskies against any of the three teams ahead of them in the conference standings. They were swept by SMU and lost at home to Louisville. But they have won six of seven since falling to Cincinnati 63-58 on Feb. 6 at Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats, who had not played since their one-point loss to Louisville last Saturday, came in tied with the Cardinals atop the conference.

They could have sealed at least at share of the conference title by winning this one and their final two. But as of right now, Louisville and Cincinnati are deadlocked for the regular season AAC crown. Let's see if the Bearcats can snap out of their current slump and get back to their winning ways on Senior Day against Memphis this upcoming Thursday. Needless to say, this will be an emotionally charged game.

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