One good dagger deservers another

Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick (23) shoots the game-winning basket as Connecticut's Jeremy Lamb (3) and Shabazz Napier, right, defend late in the second half in Storrs Wednesday. Cincinnati won 70-67. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Still trying to wrap my head around what we saw at Gampel Pavilion tonight. Cincinnati beat UConn 70-67, using Sean Kilpatrick’s 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play as a trump to Shabazz Napier’s deep 3 with 9.5 seconds on the clock.

It’s late and my wireless signal is about as reliable as UConn’s first-half defense but here are some quick reactions:

— The final shot:

“I was super surprised when he made that last three. I was shocked,” Napier said of Kilpatrick. “Because I gave him a little nudge in the legs and that always takes somebody off their shot. And Jeremy (Lamb) said he touched his fingers, played good D on him. For him to make that shot was tough.”

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin: “The end of the game was just like we drew it up. I gave a hand signal to Kilpatrick to take his time and make a three after Napier hit a 35-footer. What a wild ending.”

Andre Drummond was obviously a bit under the weather. Head cold, sniffles or something.

That explains SOME of what happened Wednesday. The rest was just good Cincinnati defense and a rather uninspired performance by the big man.

— UConn obviously didn’t use its size advantage to the fullest.

“When you start a game with a 6-10, 280-pound guy (Drummond) and another guy 6-9, 245 pounds (Alex Oriakhi), and they can’t rebound or you can’t throw them the ball or they’re getting backed down into the post, you’ve got a problem,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “That was our game plan. And that didn’t work out very well for us.”

— UConn played without Ryan Boatright again. No word on when his second review might end.

“We miss him a lot. You can tell during the game,” Napier said. “Honestly, I don’t think we would have lost if we had Ryan.”

Calhoun made no excuses for the roster as it was Wednesday.

“We have enough good players where we shouldn’t have lost this game and we shouldn’t be so inconsistent,” Calhoun said.

“The guys we had were good enough to win tonight’s game. I felt we didn’t invest enough,” Calhoun added.

— Lamb was obviously not at his best.

“He’s a very, very good basketball player and he’s got to play better than that for us to be good,” Calhoun said.

Brendan Allen got a little action. The walk-on from Windsor played two minutes in the first half, scoring a rather key bucket with a drive to the hoop for his first career points.

“Maybe we should have played Brendan Allen more minutes,” Calhoun said, praising Allen a bit and chastising his other players at the same time. “At least he had enough guts to take it to the rim and not look like he was going to fumble it.”

Yancy Gates, for one, relished the chance to defeat the defending national champs.

“Especially since they were the ones that knocked us out,” Gates said. “We still remember that.”

— As for the fighting taunts, Gates said they rolled off his back.

“It’s kind of amusing,” Gates said. “I think it’s because it happened and we moved on. … We’re a better team because of it.”



About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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