The UConn Huskies took a tough road loss Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, falling 65-60 in a slugfest typical of any meeting between these two teams. The Huskies never held this lead in this one, unfortunately, after falling behind 8-0 to start the game.
Missed layups (12 by Kevin Ollie's count) and poor rebounding led to the Huskies' demise, and it didn't help that star sophomore Daniel Hamilton only scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field. Center Amida Brimah, coming off a very strong performance against SMU (16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks) managed just two points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Cincinnati forwards Octavius Ellis and Gary Clark led the charge down low, combining for 20 points and 21 rebounds. Clark, a sophomore, notched his seventh double-double of the season. The Bearcats were coming off a tough loss of their own, 70-68 in overtime, to Tulsa on the same night as UConn's SMU game and found themselves squarely on the bubble conversation for the NCAA Tournament. This was a pretty big win for them which also completes a regular season sweep of UConn.
Despite getting a season-high 19 points from Jalen Adams (7-12 FG) and 16 points from Rodney Purvis (6-12 FG) off the bench, the Huskies shot just 37% from the field. Starters Hamilton, Brimah, and Omar Calhoun combined for just nine points on 3-of-16 shooting.
The loss puts UConn a half-game behind Cincinnati at fourth in the American standings, tied with Tulsa. The Huskies are a half game behind SMU as well and two full games behind first-place Temple. They finish this crucial late-season four-game stretch with a 2-2 record, which is not bad all things considered. UConn is in pretty solid position for the NCAA Tournament. There will be one more opportunity to get a solid win in the regular season on the road against SMU and at least one more in the AAC Tournament.
UConn's next game is Thursday at South Florida. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m.