Cincinnati leads 22-21.
At times, this game looked like it was setting the sport of basketball back to the Stone Age. If you enjoy defense, hard fouls, and brick laying, boy have we got the game for you. Neither team shot over 36% from the field. Ryan Boatright and Rodney Purvis led the way for the Huskies with 7 points each. Phil Nolan (!!!!!!!) poured in 4 of his own, including a thunderous alley oop slam.
Yet, it has been a tremendously competitive contest, as usual between these two schools. Cincy has the edge after 20 minutes, but just so. This will come down to the wire. Look for UConn to clean up their rebounding. Cincinnati grabbed 6 offensive boards and turned that into 11 second chance points and that has been all the difference. With Amida Brimah getting two quick fouls, the Bearcats bigs were able to dominate the paint. That needs to change.
This is a dogfight, as expected. Second half should leave some bruises.
The road to the NCAA tournament continues tonight for UConn. They will tip off against Cincinnati in the quarterfinals here in Hartford with a chance to take on XX tomorrow evening. UConn and Cincy split the season series 1-1 this year.
Last night, everything went right for the Huskies. They shot 55% from the field last night in their 26 point victory over USF. Daniel Hamilton led the way with a 20 point effort. The key last night was how spread out the offense was. Five different Huskies scored at least 9 points. If they can replicate that balance, Cincy is going to be in trouble.
As the 3 seed, Cincinnati had a first round bye so tonight will be their first tournament game. Look for Octavius Ellis, the Bearcats' leading scorer and rebounder, to have a major say in the events of the evening.
UConn should know what to expect tonight. Cincy will be physical. This will be a defensive slugfest. This game will probably come down to who takes care of the ball and who stays out of foul trouble. It is paramount that Amida Brimah gets to play major minutes. Officiating will obviously play a huge role, considering how physical Cincy can be. If the refs let them play and don't whistle cheap fouls, it will effect the night. If they go ticky tack with quick whistles, well, it'll be a long night.
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