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UConn Loses a Tough One to Cincinnati

By Dan Dinunzio

The UConn Huskies came into tonights game searching for an identity. Who was going to be the player that elevated its game in Big East play? Well after a hard fought battle and a very questionable foul call at the end that decided the game this UConn team is still searching.

Losing to a much improved Cincinnati team is nothing to be ashamed about. What is dissapointing is the way UConn came out and fell behind early. It's never easy have to comeback from double digit deficits. In conference play this is only going to cause more problems especially when there is a lack of depth coming off the bench.

Ranked 10. in the nation many analysts thought that UConn was overrated. Now this was its first tough environment on the road against a good team. Hopefully this can be a learning experience for the Huskies. Look at what they did right, but more importantly see what they did wrong and look at how they can make adjustments and fix those mistakes.

Free-throw shooting proved to be costly just like it was against Kentucky. Down the stretch Jerome Dyson missed the front-end of a one and one, and Gavin Edwards only made one out of two late in the game. The fact of the matter is every point counts and it's more important when your team is losing and your fighting back.

Turnovers also were a big problem for UConn tonight. Just as turnovers have been an issue against Duke and Kentucky, when the Huskies don't take care of the basketball they fall behind and it's a lot harder to comeback and win when your down the whole game.

UConn shot a dismal .375 from the field and couldn't knock down the perimeter shot. Stanley Robinson was the only exception who made three out four from beyond the arc. Kemba Walker made a big three late to tie the game but it wasn't enough.

With less then ten seconds to go, superstar freshman Lance Stephenson had the ball in his hands and drove to the hoop. It looked as if Dyson had drawn contact with his body, but then Edwards stepped up and as the ball went up Alex Oriahki blocked the ball.

The only problem was the referee blew the whistle calling a foul. The controversy was how the late the whistle was blown. They checked the clock and ruled .7 seconds were left and Stephenson knocked down both free throws.

There's no problem with calling a foul on that play, but do it when it occurs not after the horn sounds. It was confusing and questionable decision making. Stephenson had the ball with every intention of driving to the lane and sometimes just let the players play.

Of course there is going to be disagreements in calls by referees, but when it decides the outcome of the game it raises a lot more attention. Right or wrong, UConn struggled in many different areas. This game was decided by more then just this one play.

UConn's froncourt was outplayed and out hustled. Atar Majok played 20 minutes and was a non-factor. Alex Oriahki scored only 4 points in his 24 minutes of play. That production out of two of Uconn's biggest players isn't going to cut it.

Stanley Robinson who scored 22 points and Jerome Dyson who had 24 points can only do so much. These two seniors have been productive all season long, but someone else needs to step up their game. Even Kemba Walker struggled tonight shooting 3 for 11 from the field.

This was the conference opener and it puts a bad taste to start off the biggest stretch of the season. Calhoun obviously wasn't pleased with his teams overall performance, but that's got to be done and over with come Saturday at noon when Notre Dame comes to town.

The Big East conference is considered to be the toughest in all the nation. This loss is not the way UConn wanted to start but there will be plenty of opportunities to improve their NCAA Tournament resume before Selection Sunday.

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