UConn report card: Defense is the name of the game

A look at the good, bad and ugly from Saturday’s 51-45 UConn victory over Cincinnati:


  1. DOWN AND DIRTY: The Huskies beat the Bearcats at their own game by going hard for 40 minutes on defense and letting else fall into play. UConn scored 20 points on 20 Cincy turnovers, and forced the Bearcats to shoot 25 percent in the second half. Cincy had only four points the opening 12 minutes of the second half with eight turnovers.

UConn’s Ryan Boatright’s take: “We felt like if we were missing shots, if we can stop them, we can’t lose. Because eventually, we’re going to knock down shots. … You have to get stops if you are missing shots. … If you can play defense you can get out in transition and get layups.”

  1. SILENT STAR: Cincy senior Sean Kilpatrick is known for his ability to close games, but the Huskies allowed him to score just four of his 16 points in the second half. Senior Lasan Kromah and freshman Terrence Samuel were both important in keeping Kilpatrick off the mark.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie’s take: “Ten eyes on him. Lasan did a great job on him. Terrence came in and did a great job on him. Every screen and roll we wanted to blitz. Every pin down we wanted to blitz it. We wanted to get the ball out of his hands and make someone else score.”

  1. STATING YOUR CASE: UConn senior Shabazz Napier outshine fellow AAC Player of the Year candidate Kilpatrick with a team-high 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals to go with a 9-for-10 outing from the foul line to help close the game. Kilpatrick had 16 points and five boards with three assists and a team-high seven turnovers.


  1. MORE OF THIS, MORE OF THAT: The numbers were not pretty for the Huskies once again with a 31.3 percent shooting day, getting beaten on the boards 44-30 and a 9-to-10 ratio on assists-to-turnovers. UConn also failed to make a field goal in the final 7:38.

Ollie’s take: “We got to make more shots. We got to get better rebounding. But at the end of the day, we got a win.”

  1. PAGING MR. DANIELS: Since injuring his ankle against Rutgers, DeAndre Daniels has not been the same player. He sat out the first Cincy meeting with back spasms, but in the rematch he managed only 15 minutes with four points, four rebounds and a team-high three turnovers. As the Huskies best front court player, they have to get more out of him each game. Ollie said earlier in the season “eight rebounds” a game for him.
  2. OMAR’S MOJO: Sophomore Omar Calhoun can’t seem to catch a break. He took two really good 3-point shots in the first half and both rimmed out. He also drove to the basket, but was unable to get the bucket or draw the foul. In four minutes he was 0-for-3 shooting and did not play the second half.


Rutgers at UConn, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Gampel Pavilion: Napier, Niels Giffey, and Tyler Olander bid farewell to Husky fans on Senior Night after four seasons. Kromah will also be part of the night even though he’s only been there one season. The Huskies figure to be back in the polls this week and need the win to stay in the race for a higher seed in the AAC tourney.

William Paxton