At this point in the season, it doesn't matter how you win the game, it just matters if you win. Especially when you're playing for seeding before the upcoming conference tournament.
So despite not scoring a field goal for the final 7:39 of the game, the UConn Huskies upset the No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats 51-45 in front of a sold-out crowd at the XL Center on Saturday afternoon.
UConn improves to 23-6 (11-5 American) while Cincinnati falls to 24-5 (13-3).
Sean Kilpatrick paced the Bearcats with 16 points and had five rebounds. Shaquille Thomas added eight points while Titus Rubles and Ge'Lawn Guyn both had six. Rubles led Cincinnati with 13 rebounds before fouling out.
You could call this game a defensive struggle or two teams who shot the ball poorly.
The Bearcats shot just 27.1% (13-48) while UConn shot 31.3% (15-48).
The game stayed relatively close in the first half as both teams exchanged the lead in a low scoring affair. Cincinnati got out to a five point lead towards the end of the half before the Huskies closed it out on a 6-0 run.
UConn would build its lead in the second half as the Bearcats went cold for the seven and half minutes. They got the lead to ten points before their cold streak happened.
Fortunately, UConn clamped down on defense, Cincinnati made some mistakes and the Huskies hit their free throws to pull out the six point victory.
UConn showed its resiliency in overcoming the shooting difficulties. They still aren't playing their best offensively but defensively it's another story. This is a team as well as Cincinnati teams aren't going to want to play during tournament time.
Next up for the Huskies are the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Wednesday night at Gampel Pavilion. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. and it's Senior Night for UConn.
Here are UConn's postgame quotes.
photo credits: john woike – hartford courant