Crash and burn

UConn's Shabazz Napier, right, tries to drive to the basket past Providence's LaDontae Henton, left, in the second half of a game in Providence Tuesday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Didn’t think it could get any worse this season for UConn? Well, blowing a 14-point lead with 12 minutes to play in a game against a team that was 3-13 in Big East play before Tuesday probably moves the bar down considerably.

The Huskies’ 72-70 loss Tuesday night deals a major blow to the defending champions’ odds of making the field of 68 this year.

UConn (17-12, 7-10) is in dire straights.

That’s because it allowed Providence to score 35 points over the game’s final 12 minutes (after it scored 37 in the first 28).

As is often the case, point guard Shabazz Napier had some choice words after the game.

“This is one of those games where you have to look yourself in the mirror and realize that you’re not that good,” Napier said. “Right now you’re just an average kid trying to get out of the hole.”

He also said what seemed apparent at times: the Huskies probably took the Friars a bit lightly.

“No disrespect to them but this is one of those games you put a ‘W’ by it before you even play it,” Napier said.

— When Roscoe Smith hit a pair of free throws with 12:30 to play in the game, UConn was up 51-37.

“I thought we were in complete control of the game,” Blaney said.

Not for long. Bryce Cotton got hot from the outside, UConn decided to try and respond by taking quick 3’s of its own and also threw the ball away plenty.

“We did a lot of bad things from that point on,” Blaney said.

— So is UConn dead? Well, opinions vary. Smith sounded almost pleased with his team’s effort.

“This is one of those games where you do everything right but it’s just neck-and-neck,” Smith said.

But aren’t the Huskies running out of time to get wins?

“We’re not desperate. We’re not desperate at all,” Smith said. “We’re still OK. We’re still standing still. We’re not shaky enough. We’re still looking good, even though we’re getting a little bit of losses in there. We’re still confident.”

— The technical foul that Andre Drummond picked up for throwing the ball at official Roger Ayers was a little sketchy.

“I tossed it to him. I guess he wasn’t prepared for it and he thought I tried to throw it at him,” Drummond said.

“I usually just toss the ball to the ref and usually they’re ready for it,” Drummond added. “I guess he wasn’t looking so it looked like a cheap shot.”

Blaney thought it was a tough call.

“I said ‘It’s Andre Drummond. He would not do that. He doesn’t know how to do that. He’s too nice a person,’ ” Blaney said. “I can’t imagine that was intentional.”

— UConn will finish Big East play without a winning record for the third season in a row. It went 7-11 in 09-10, 9-9 last year and can’t do any better than 8-10 this year.

— Providence hit 10 3-pointers Tuesday, marking the eighth time this season a UConn opponent has hit double-digits in that category. Four of those occasions have come in the last month, all of which resulted in losses by the Huskies.

— UConn still hasn’t won in Providence since Jan. 28, 2006, though to be fair it hasn’t played here every year.



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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