Shabazz Napier knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in overtime and, once again, provided the late-game heroics to propel UConn to a 73-66 victory over Cincinnati Thursday night at the XL Center.
Napier scored 11 of his 27 points in overtime.
STAR OF THE GAME: Although he was less-than-spectacular in regulation, Napier’s overtime performance made all the difference. In 29:40 of overtime this year, Napier has scored an absurd 45 points.
KEY TO THE WIN: UConn battled through a horrific second half, but Cincinnati, which shot just 6-for-22 from deep, never truly capitalized.
* Titus Rubles gave the Bearcats a 55-53 lead on a putback in the final minute, and Shabazz Napier responded with an acrobatic layup to tie it. His left-handed layup at the end of regulation rimmed out.
*UConn endured an 8:51 scoring drought in the second half and still never fell behind. An Omar Calhoun dish to Tyler Olander broke the ice and gave the Huskies a 45-43 lead. Before that dunk, UConn had converted just two of its first 11 field goals in the second half.
*DeAndre Daniels, yanked in the opening minutes, returned and provided a spark on both ends, scoring 17 points and swatting away four shots. He hit a 3-pointer on a kickout from Shabazz Napier that cut Cincinnati’s lead to 53-52.
*Calhoun (sprained wrist) was limited offensively. He misfired badly on his first few free throw attempts before finding a rhythm. He hit two free throws in overtime to give UConn a 63-57 lead with two minutes remaining.
*Cincinnati’s leading scorer, Sean Kilpatrick, was held in check, but he buried two 3-pointers during a mini-run that gave the Bearcats a late lead.
*A Shabazz Napier free throw tied the game, 53-53, with 1:30 remaining.