Final: Cincinnati 61, UConn 56

Cincinnati forward Titus Rubles (2) dunks the ball against Connecticut during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

Cincinnati forward Titus Rubles (2) dunks the ball against Connecticut during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

John F. Silver

UConn’s attempt at some last second heroics without Shabazz Napier fell short.

Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick scored 20 points and the Bearcats survived 30.8 percent shooting from the floor to beat the Napier-less Huskies 61-56 on Saturday in Cincinnati.

UConn played without its leading scorer in Napier, who was out with a right foot injury.

Cincinnati had as much as a 12 point lead in the second half before the Huskies, behind 22 points from Ryan Boatright and 18 from DeAndre Daniels rallied in the final minute.

The Huskies managed to have their chances in the final minute. Unheralded Phil Nolan hit 1 of 2 free throws to cut the Cincinnati lead to 58-57 with 20 seconds left. Cincinnati’s Titus Rubles then turned over the ball on the inbounds play giving the Huskies a golden chance to steal the game.

UConn’s R.J. Evans, playing in place for Napier, turned the ball over throwing a floating pass on the inbounds to Daniels that was intercepted by Cincinnati’s Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick hit both free throws and down 60-57, Boatright was doubled teamed bringing the ball up, had it knocked away and ultimately was called for a backcourt violation. Cincinnati’s Cashmere Wright canned both free throws to seal the game.

The Huskies also played a lot of the game without forward Niels Giffey, who injured a finger and was limited.  that left the Huskies with Boatright, Daniels and Omar Calhoun with the little-used Evans and Nolan playing down the stretch.

Nolan had himself a career day backing up his 14 minutes of solid play against Georgetown with eight points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes. Evans had two points and six rebounds in 33 minutes.

The Huskies led 29-24 at the half as Cincinnati shot 3 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half. Cincinnati doubled that in the second half with six 3-pointers and finished 9 of 31 from long range.

UConn struggled from 3 shooting 2 of 18 and committed 15 turnovers.

Boatright led the Huskies with 22 points, the majority coming from the free throw line as he went 14 of 15. Daniels added eight rebounds and three blocks.

 

BOX SCORE