The UConn men’s basketball team is set to take on American Athletic Conference opponent Cincinnati Saturday in the latest installment of a rivalry that has been fertile ground for memorable moments. 11 of the last 12 meetings between these two teams have been decided by seven points or fewer, and each team has won six of those games. Overall, UConn is 13-8 all-time against the Bearcats in series that dates back to 1995.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the best shots and performances from the recent history of UConn vs. Cincinnati.
Lance Stephenson buries UConn at the foul line – December 2009
UConn’s first true road game of the 2009-10 season ended in heartbreak, as Cincinnati guard Lance Stephenson drew a controversial foul with 0.7 seconds left in a 69-69 game before sinking both free throws to top the Huskies. That came just moments after Kemba Walker tied the score with a 3-pointer after UConn trailed by 12 points earlier in the half. UConn was ranked No. 10 entering the game and ended up missing the NCAA tournament.
Sean Kilpatrick sinks Gampel from deep – January 2012
Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick scored a whole bunch of points for the Bearcats, finishing his career as the program’s second all-time leading scorer behind Oscar Robertson, and he was a frequent Husky-killer. Arguably Kilpatrick’s biggest shot in the rivalry came in January 2012, when Cincinnati entered Gampel Pavilion on a six-game Big East Conference road winning streak and the fiery guard buried a game-winning 3-pointer from near the top of the key. Kilpatrick led the Bearcats that night with 16 points, while Shabazz Napier led UConn with 27 points in a 70-67 loss.
Mick Cronin, official get contentious in Hartford – March 2014
In 2014, the first year of American Athletic Conference play, Cincinnati landed the first blow with a 63-58 home win on Feb. 6. Less than a month later, UConn got revenge with a 51-45 home win at the XL Center over the Bearcats, ranked No. 11 at the time, that featured a notably angry outburst from Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin. Cronin argued a call with referee Ted Valentine, leading Valentine to step right in front of the vocal head coach and tell him off. This only made Cronin angrier, as he continued to argue and had to be restrained by his players.
Ryan Boatright rattles home buzzer-beater – March 2015
UConn guard Ryan Boatright delivered one last big win to the Storrs faithful in the 2015 American Tournament quarterfinal in Hartford, hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired to give UConn a 57-54 win. While Cincinnati had an at-large NCAA tournament bid essentially secured entering the game, the Huskies needed to win the conference tournament to earn an at-large bid, and Boatright’s shot kept their season alive.
Jalen Adams’ miracle shot – March 2016
For the second year in a row, UConn met Cincinnati in the American quarterfinals, likely needing to win the tournament to punch their NCAA tournament ticket. After three grueling overtimes, Cincinnati’s Kevin Johnson hit a 3-pointer to put the Bearcats up 88-85 with 0.8 seconds left, and it seemed as if the Huskies were out of luck. Then freshman guard Jalen Adams entered his name in permanent UConn lore with a miraculous bank shot from beyond half court to force a fourth overtime. The Huskies eventually won 104-97 in overtime No. 4, with Daniel Hamilton scoring 32 points in 55 minutes, before going on to win the American tournament and a NCAA auto-bid.