Michigan State. Arkansas. Auburn. Memphis. Villanova. Temple. Wichita State.
And now Cincinnati.
This is the eighth game in which the UConn men’s basketball team (13-14, 6-8 The American) has lost by over 20 points. Tonight’s score was 77-52. It is worth noting that all but one of these games occurred either on the road or at a neutral site. Only Villanova can say they beat UConn by more than 20 at home.
Coming into the night, even though UConn’s record hasn’t shown it, they had been shooting much better from the floor and all that was missing was a consistent 40-minute defensive effort. Considering a seven-minute scoring drought was the biggest reason they dropped their first contest against the Bearcats at Gampel on Feb. 3, it wasn’t impossible to think they had a chance.
But Jalen Adams, who has scored 75 points over his last four games, including 26 against East Carolina on Sunday, sat out with flu-like symptoms. He did not get to have his flu game.
It was bad enough they didn’t have their leading scorer on the floor, but the No. 11 Bearcats (20-4, 13-2 The American) simply were the better team on both sides of the ball. The Huskies shot just 29.5 percent tonight. Cincinnati shot 45.2 percent.
Christian Vital, Terry Larrier and Antwoine Anderson took 48 of UConn’s 61 shots. Only 13 of those attempts went in. Cincinnati got 40 points from their bench, highlighted by 12 from Trevor Moore and 13 from Cane Broome. Eric Cobb scored three and David Onuorah scored two off the UConn bench. That’s it.
Like most blowout losses, it didn’t start out so bad. UConn jumped out to an early 3-point lead courtesy of Vital, but the Bearcats immediately responded with an 8-0 run to retake control. The two teams exchanged baskets for the next seven minutes, but Cincinnati took charge from the 3-point line. UConn started to miss shots; the Bearcats did not.
Cincinnati got up by as much as 15 points in the first half, but UConn cut the deficit to 13 by halftime. Yet the Huskies opened up the second half with a foul just 14 seconds in, and it all fell apart from there. In the next three minutes, UConn missed three 3-point shots and turned the ball over once in a sloppy sequence of events that culminated in a dunk from Gary Clark, who led the Bearcats with 17 points. The Huskies then found themselves down 20 and gasping for air.
Ten of UConn’s 27 second-half points were the product of free throws. They shot just 25 percent from the floor and hit just three out of their 11 3-point attempts. Cincinnati ended the game with 23 points off of UConn’s 13 turnovers and 22 assists compared to UConn’s six.
UConn rebounded much better this game, actually grabbing more offensive rebounds (13) than Cincy (11), but when they plug up one hole, another one starts to leak.
UConn will have a quick recovery before taking on Memphis on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Gampel. The last time the two teams met was one of the disastrous 20+ point losses on the road, an ugly 73-49 loss that wasn’t even that close from the start.
Larrier did not play that game and Josh Carlton, who scored five points Thursday night, dropped 15. But once again, the defense was lacking, allowing the Tigers to shoot 50 percent from the field.
Since their meeting with UConn on Jan. 16, Memphis has not fared too well, but they defeated No. 23 Houston last night. Jeremiah Martin, who scored 21 in their last meeting, is the Tigers’ best player, averaging 19.3 points per game in addition to 3.7 assists per game.
Stephanie Sheehan is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com. She tweets @steph_sheehan.