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UConn’s perimeter defense proved to be too much for Harrison twins

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ARLINGTON, Texas — After struggling to find the consistency expected of them when they arrived on campus in August, Kentucky freshman guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison hit their stride in postseason play. With Aaron becoming the team’s key shot taker (and maker) and Andrew doing a better job as the primary distributor, the Wildcats won seven of eight games ahead of Monday’s national title game.

But against a “hungry” pack of Huskies that run of stellar play came to an end, with both struggling in the Wildcats’ 60-54 loss.

Aaron scored seven points, shooting 3-for-7 from the field and Andrew made just three of his nine field goal attempts. Just as big of an issue for the tandem was ball control against UConn’s smaller guards, with Andrew accounting for five assists and four turnovers and Aaron committing three turnovers without an assist.

RELATED: UConn wins fourth national title in 15 years

 

After having success shaking off opposing guards throughout the tournament, Kentucky’s 6-foot-6 backcourt duo didn’t enjoy the same amount of success on the game’s biggest stage. And part of the issue was the fact that neither was as aggressive in attacking the defense as they were in earlier tournament games.

“One of our things was sprint it up the court so you attack [Boatright] and he’s not attacking you. We jogged,” Calipari said in regards to his strategy for dealing with Boatright’s perimeter defense. “Let somebody else bring it up and when you catch it, come to a triple-threat [position] because now your size matters. He can’t come up into you now. If you’re dribbling, he can.”

Without the room needed to operate neither was as effective as they would have hoped for on the offensive end, and they also struggled defensively. UConn was able to use its perimeter speed to build up a 15-point first half lead, and as a result Calipari made the decision with just under six minutes remaining in the first half to go zone.

The foul trouble incurred by Boatright and DeAndre Daniels certainly impacted Kentucky’s decision to make the strategic move, but there were also issues for the Wildcats in defending man-to-man that needed to be addressed before the game got out of hand. Calipari made the move and it was an effective one, pulling Kentucky to within four points at the intermission.

“We had to play zone,” Calipari said. “Tried to get [UConn’s] sweat to dry a little bit, make them less aggressive and it worked and these guys performed. They came back, ‘let’s play zone, coach.'”

They’d call on the defense at various points in the second half, but UConn was able to do a better job of finding and making the timely shots needed to hang on for the win. Unfortunately for Kentucky, they weren’t able to do the same when faced with critical offensive possessions down the stretch.

James Young was highly productive as the third guard, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds to lead the Kentucky scoring effort. However at a certain point Kentucky needed the two guards who had been such an instrumental factor in their run to the national title game, but thanks to UConn’s perimeter defense the Harrisons were unable to get untracked.

UConn took away the ball screens that so often led to finishes at the basket throughout Kentucky’s tournament run, either for themselves or their teammates, and that proved to be too much to overcome.

VIDEO: Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin gets technical foul for copying famous Vince Carter dunk

Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin (2) shoots over Cincinnati forward Quadri Moore (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
(AP Photo/Gary Landers)
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Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season on Saturday with the Tigers on the road against Tulane. Goodwin attempted to copy Vince Carter’s famous arm-in-the-rim dunk from the 2000 NBA dunk contest. This would have been okay during pregame warmups, but Goodwin tried to pull this off on a breakaway near the end of the first half. He was quickly hit with the T for hanging on the rim.

Goodwin has good timing when it comes to current events, as the NBA’s dunk contest airs on Saturday night, but the timing of pulling this off in the first half of a tight conference game is not so great.

For past reference, here’s Carter’s original arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000, which had everyone astonished since it had never been done before.

(H/T: The Cauldron)

No. 20 Providence ends skid with 75-72 win over Georgetown

Providence guard Kris Dunn (3) shoots the ball as Georgetown forward Isaac Copeland (11) and forward Trey Mourning (33) defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Providence, R.I., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
(AP Photo/Stew Milne)
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Rodney Bullock had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 20 Providence held off a furious rally to beat Georgetown 75-72 on Saturday.

Kris Dunn added 20 points, and Ben Bentil finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to help the Friars (19-7, 7-6 Big East) end a three-game losing streak.

Georgetown (14-12, 7-6) had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but L.J. Peak’s 3-point attempt was blocked by Bullock.

The Hoyas cut what had been a 26-point first-half deficit all the way down to a point with just over a minute to play.

The Friars put the ball in the hands of Dunn and Bentil, and they accounted for 12 of Providence’s final 14 points to help stave off Georgetown’s comeback efforts.

Marcus Derrickson led the Hoyas with 18 points and nine rebounds.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas’ leading scorer, knocked down a 3-pointer – his first basket of the game – to pull Georgetown within 70-67 with 2:42 left.

It was 71-67 when Dunn blocked a shot by Smith-Rivera. But Bentil came up empty on a 3-point attempt on Providence’s ensuing possession.

Georgetown got it back and cut it to a point on a 3 by Trey Mourning with 1:08 left.

Bullock was fouled underneath and connected on two free throws to push the lead back up to three.

Out of a timeout, Georgetown ran the shot clock down and Isaac Copeland was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Junior Lomomba with 10 seconds left.

But Copeland got only two of the three free throws, forcing the Hoyas to foul Bentil.

Bentil made both, setting up Georgetown’s final shot.

The Friars’ offense was in sync early, and had an 11-0 run midway through the first half.

Georgetown fell apart on both ends of the court during the stretch, going without a field goal for nearly 7 minutes, and turning it over five times as it fell into a 20-point deficit.

TIP-INS

Georgetown: Had five players in double figures. … Shot 25 percent in the first half (9 for 28).

Providence: Its 49 points in the first half was a season-high. The previous first-half high was 47 points against Hartford on Dec. 2. … Had only two first-half turnovers.

UP NEXT

Georgetown hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Providence travels to No.5 Xavier on Wednesday.