Cincy Takes on UCONN

Connecticut can use some momentum heading into next week's Big East tournament.

The 13th-ranked Huskies look to bounce back from a disappointing loss when they host Cincinnati at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday to close out the regular season.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Connecticut –12.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Connecticut –12.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday in Storrs, but was postponed until Sunday because a winter snow storm grounded the Bearcats in Ohio.

"Cincinnati is not able to get out today," Kyle Muncy, a UConn spokesman, said Saturday.

Connecticut (23-7, 12-5) lost 85-76 at struggling Providence on Thursday night to fall to 2-2 since winning 10 in a row from Jan. 20-Feb. 19.

Though the Huskies have clinched a first-round bye for next week's conference tournament and can't finish worse than fourth in the league standings, their effort left coach Jim Calhoun a little concerned.

"This was a very disappointing performance, the most selfish performance in 14 games," Calhoun said. "We didn't play like a team that won 12 of its last 13 games. We played more like a team that had lost 12 of its last 13 games.

"From the opening get-go we never could get focused on the game. That hasn't happened to us in a long, long time."

After shooting 51.5 percent in winning their two previous games, the Huskies shot 39.3 percent - including 5-for-23 from 3-point range - and committed a season-high 21 turnovers Thursday.

Connecticut was outscored 53-43 in the second half and gave up its second-most points of the season - well over the 68.9 average it's allowing in 2007-08.

Leading scorer Jeff Adrien finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, snapping his run of four-straight double-doubles. Adrien was averaging 17.8 points and 10.5 boards in his previous four contests.

"We were a little bit lousy and (Providence) took advantage of that,'' said 7-foot-3 sophomore Hasheem Thabeet, who had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks Thursday after totaling 12 points in his previous three contests.

The Huskies hope for a better effort Saturday as they look to close out the regular season with an eighth straight home win while trying to improve to 4-0 all-time against Cincinnati.

Connecticut, though, didn't have an easy time with the Bearcats in the teams' first meeting this season.

Thabeet had 22 points, while guard Jerome Dyson finished with 20 and blocked a shot in the closing seconds of the Huskies' 84-83 win at Cincinnati on Jan. 23. The Huskies shot 53.3 percent for the game and overcame a 12-point deficit over the final 5:52.

The Bearcats (13-16, 8-9) will join Connecticut in the Big East tournament, but will be trying to avoid a fifth consecutive loss before it starts. The Bearcats are in a three-way tie for eighth place in the league after losing 60-54 at home to DePaul on Thursday.

"We still have at least two games left," said senior John Williamson, who had 19 points versus DePaul. "We can go up (to Connecticut), get a win, and then get another win. We will never give up and quit."

Williamson was the only player in double figures Thursday for Cincinnati, which shot 37.5 percent and failed to score 60 points for the third time in five games.

Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn, who averages 17.0 points but was held to eight against DePaul, went 8-for-11 from 3-point range and finished with 34 points in the Bearcats' earlier loss to Connecticut.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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