No. 15 Cincinnati beats UConn 81-71 in AAC semifinals

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gary Clark scored 24 points to lead No. 15 Cincinnati to an 81-71 win over UConn in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday night.

Jacob Evans added 21 points and Troy Caupain had 19 for the Bearcats (29-4), who will be seeking their first AAC title on Sunday against No. 12 SMU.

Jalen Adams scored 20 points and Christian Vital had 19 for UConn. The Huskies finish their season 16-17, their first losing campaign in 30 years.

It was a typically chippy game between the teams, whose rivalry dates to the old Big East. They combined for 56 fouls, 32 committed by UConn.

Cincinnati was 38 of 46 from the foul line. UConn made 20 of its 25 free throw attempts.

UConn cut a 12-point halftime lead to two on a 3-pointer by Rodney Purvis with just over 13 minutes to go, but that was as close as the Huskies would get in the second half.

Evans, who made all three of his shots from behind the arc, hit one from the left wing that stretched it back to 65-55 with 5 minutes left.

Five UConn players finished with four fouls, and seniors Kentan Facey and Purvis fouled out.

Facey was first to go, leaving the game with 3 1/2 minutes left and UConn down 65-60.

A minute later it was 70-60 after a pull-up jumper from Clark.

UConn made one final run, cutting the lead to 76-71 on a three-point play by Vital. But the Bearcats scored the final five from the foul line.

The Huskies, who normally play seven, saw Facey and point guard Jalen Adams each picked up three fouls in the game’s first 11 minutes.

Adams’ third, on a steal attempt, put Cincinnati in the double bonus with almost eight minutes still to play before intermission. With the sophomore out of the game the Bearcats scored 20 of the half’s final 28 points. They led by as many as 14 went into the break with a 41-29 lead.

Kyle Washington, who had 21 points for the Bearcats in their quarterfinal win over Tulsa on Friday was held scoreless, and was one of three Bearcats with four fouls.

BIG PICTURE

The Bearcats advance to their first AAC championship game after getting knocked out of the past three conference tournaments by UConn. Cincinnati has not won a conference title since winning the Conference USA title in 2004.

UConn has eight of its top 11 players eligible to come back next season.

UP NEXT

The Bearcats were the last team to beat the Mustangs, who have won 15 straight since that 66-64 loss on Jan. 12.

The Huskies, who lost three players for the season to injuries, have plenty of time to heal for next season.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.