Fact: The No. 10 UConn Huskies men’s basketball team didn’t deserve to win this game.
Fact: They didn’t deserve to lose the game the way they did.
A controversial foul call on UConn’s Gavin Edwards with .7 seconds left gave Lance Stephenson a chance to win the game at the foul line. Stephenson hit both free throws and UConn’s desperation shot missed as the Cincinnati Bearcats pulled off the upset 71-69 in front of 10,409 fans at Fifth Third Arena on Wednesday night.
Trailing by three with under a minute to go, Stanley Robinson made a layup with 29 seconds to cut the Bearcats lead to one at 67-66. After a timeout by the Huskies, they didn’t foul anyone and allowed a dunk by Ibrahima Thomas to push the lead back to three with 18 seconds to go.
The Huskies brought the ball down the floor and Jerome Dyson hit Kemba Walker on the wing. Walker hoisted a three that he hit with 9.4 seconds left to go in the game.
Stephenson then brought the ball down the floor and drove past Dyson into the lane where he went for the layup. Edwards went up and it looked like he barely touched him. Alex Oriakhi blocked the layup attempt and the clock ran out.
But with the whistle blown, the referees went to the scorer’s table for a review and put .7 back on the clock. In watching the replays, I’ve still yet to see where the foul was.
The Huskies fall to 9-3 (0-1 Big East) while the Bearcats improve to 9-3 (1-0).
Dyson led the way for the Huskies with 24 points and had seven rebounds and five assists while Robinson had 22 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Walker finished with nine points and Edwards had eight points and seven rebounds.
Stephenson paced the Bearcats with 21 points while Deonta Vaughn had 17 points.
After going into the locker room trailing by one at the half, the Huskies fell behind by 12 points but Dyson rallied them with ten points during a spurt that cut the lead down to four.
Simply put, if the Huskies are going to have to rely on Dyson and Robinson for their scoring, it’s going to be a long season. They need somebody to step up and step up big time. Ater Majok was a non-factor again and Walker was his out-of-control self.
That’s not going to get it done folks. Until someone decides they want to play some ball and put some points on the board, we can expect games like this.
One thing’s for certain, head coach Jim Calhoun won’t stand for sloppy play like they did on Wednesday night.
The Huskies return to action in the new year when they host preseason Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the XL Center on Saturday. Top is scheduled for 12 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.