Huskies fall in overtime
Cincy wins sixth straight against UConn
CINCINNATI — Newly refurbished arena, familiar — though hardly similar — result.
UConn trailed by 11 in the second half and by eight with less than six minutes to play, but rallied back to take the lead, then sent the game into overtime on an Alterique Gilbert runner as time expired.
Even with leading scorer Jalen Adams sitting on the bench after fouling out with 21⁄ minutes left in reg
However, Cincinnati used a steady stream of trips to the foul line and a big 3- pointer by Justin Jenifer to pull out a 74- 72 victory at Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati has now won six straight over UConn. The prior five were by an average margin of 15.4 points.
Cincinnati led by 11 ( 4635) after a Keith Williams basket ( on a Sid Wilson goaltend) with 12: 44 left in regulation. UConn went zone and chipped away at the lead, but the Bearcats used a barrage of free throws to take a 56- 48 lead with 6: 13 left.
The Huskies countered with three straight 3- point-
ers, two of them by Christian Vital — the latter giving UConn its first lead
( 57- 56) since the 7: 18 mark of the first half.
But Adams fouled out with 2: 26 left and Jarron Cumberland hit a pair of free throws. And when Nysier Brooks slammed home a dunk with 1: 52 left to put the Bearcats up four, it didn’t look good for the Huskies.
But Gilbert hit a 3- pointer. With 40.2 seconds left, Cane Broome hit one of two free throws. Cincinnati burned a couple of fouls, and with 4.5 seconds left, UConn inbounded the ball to Gilbert, who drove the lane and hit a runner to send it to OT.
Jenifer’s trey with 1: 20 left in OT put the Bearcats up five. Again, UConn didn’t give in, getting to within two on Gilbert’s conventional three- point play with 11.7 seconds left.
Jenifer missed a pair of foul shots with 7.8 seconds left, and the Huskies had a chance to win or tie. But Vital lost the handle on the ball out on the wing, then committed an offensive foul with 1.5 seconds remaining. Cincy actually turned the ball over at midcourt, but Sid Wilson’s desperation trey came after the buzzer ( and missed, anyway).
The Huskies played well for most of the first half and trailed by just a point at halftime. But Cincinnati scored the first six points of the latter half and gradually upped its lead to 11.
UConn got off to an 11- 3 start and didn’t trial for the first 14 minutes of play. But the Huskies started getting careless with the ball and had increasing trouble getting off good shots against the Bearcats’ matchup zone. Cincinnati led by five with 1: 40 left in
the half, but 3- pointers by Adams and Tarin Smith — sandwiched around a Nyser Brooks jump hook — got the Huskies to within one ( 33- 32) at halftime.
The Bearcats have now beat UConn six straight games, and are an Adams 75- footer away from having now won the last nine meetings.
UConn hasn’t won at Fifth Third Arena since Feb. 27, 2011, a stretch of seven straight losses.
Longtime UConn radio 1 analyst Wayne Norman was unable to go on the air for the second game in a row due to a bout with pharyngitis. Norman, who didn’t even make it to Gampel Pavilion for UConn’s win over SMU Thursday night, made the trip to Cincinnati. However, his voice just wasn’t strong enough for the radio broadcast.
UConn men’s basketball SID Phil Chardis helped out play- by- play man Mike Crispino on the broadcast.
Due to snowy conditions 1 Saturday night in Cincinnati, the Huskies were slated to make about an 90- minute bus ride to Lexington, Kentucky after the game and fly back to Hartford via charter from there.
Cincinnati’s Tre Scott shoots over UConn’s Tyler Polley during Saturday’s game in Cincinnati.