UC vs. UCONN, Round II

The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team is in desperate need of some momentum heading into the Big East tournament. A win on the road at number 14-ranked University of Connecticut in their final game of the regular season Saturday could provide just that.

Other than momentum, the Bearcats (13-16, 8-9 in the Big East) will be seeking to put an end to their losing streak they have recently been unable to shed. Following Thursday night's home loss to DePaul, the streak stands at four games. Thursday night also spelled trouble for UConn (23-7, 12-5 in the Big East), who lost for just the second time in their last 14 games at the hands of the Providence Friars. The Huskies shot only just over 39 percent in Providence, including going just 5-for-23 from three point land on the night.

7-foot-3 sophomore center Hasheem Thabeet led UConn Thursday with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six steals. Thabeet finished 5-of-6 shooting from the floor as well as 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He'll be hunting for his eighth double-double of the season against Cincinnati Saturday.

January 23rd marked the first time these two teams met this season, with the Huskies winning 84-83 by overcoming a 12-point deficit with just under six minutes to play. Thabeet led Connecticut with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Jerome Dyson scored 20 of his own as UConn shot over 53 percent from the field during the game.

Cincinnati leading scorer Deonta Vaughn led all scorers the first time around, as he shot 8-of-11 from behind the three-point arc en route to scoring 34 points.

"Stopping Vaughn is a Herculean task," said Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun of the sophomore guard following the game. "We were forced to sell out and just double team him."

Eight other Bearcats scored five points of more that night, but none of them were able to reach double digits. The 83-point output was UC's highest of the season.

A balanced scoring attack will be a necessity if Cincinnati can have any hopes of escaping the northeast with a win. The Huskies possess five players who average in double digits in scoring on the year. Juniors A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien lead the UConn charge with 14.9 points per game each.

Senior Bearcat John Williamson has led or shared the lead in scoring his team in each of their last four games. Over those four games he is averaging 19.5 points per game. His average on the season is just 11.7.

Fellow UC senior Marvin Gentry is expected to miss his second straight game due to a case of planter fasciitis.

"He can hardly walk," said coach Cronin Thursday night. "It hurts him to stand on his feet."

The 4:00PM tip-off can be seen locally on Fox 19.


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