Tuesday’s Shootaround: Cincy, UConn get much needed wins

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No. 16 UConn 64, West Virginia 57: For the first time all season long, UConn looked like the team that all the pundits thought could be a national title contender. The Huskies were coming off of an atrocious trip through New Jersey, where they lost on the road against both Seton Hall and Rutgers, and had to deal with some quotes from Shabazz Napier that made it look like the UConn team was on the brink on implosion.

With 11 minutes left in the game, it looked like UConn was going to be in major trouble. They were down 46-36 to the Mountaineers and were dealing with the same issues that had been plaguing them all season long. They weren’t getting stops, they weren’t ending possessions with a defensive rebound and their offense looked about as sophisticated as a mediocre high school program’s JV team. But the Husky defense woke up at the same time as Andre Drummond decided to take over. UConn’s talented freshman finished with 20 points, 11 boards and three blocks while Jeremy Lamb went for 25 as the two combined to spark the Huskies to a game-changing 15-2 run that turned into a 28-14 surge over the final 11 minutes.

Cincinnati 68, No. 11 Georgetown 64: You want to hear an impressive stat? Cincinnati has now won six straight Big East road games, with the last two coming against ranked teams. And the Bearcats did it against Georgetown not with the powerful offense that was on display during the first four games of Yancy Gates’ suspension but with the powerful and staunch defense that we expected from this Bearcat team all season long.

Over the last six minutes of the game, the Bearcats forced six Georgetown turnovers and allowed them to shoot just four field goals as they erased a 59-53 Georgetown lead. Sean Kilpatrick was terrific, finishing with 27 points, while Dion Dixon added 22, including four free throws in the final seven seconds that iced the game.

Want an example of how turnovers can kill a team? Georgetown shot 59.1% from the floor, but lost thanks to their 17 turnovers.

Other notable scores

– Oklahoma State 72, Oklahoma 65
– St. Mary’s 87, San Francisco 72

Top Performers:

Andre Drummond, UConn: “I thought Andre Drummond was special tonight. He hasn’t been special all season. He’s been good, as you would expect for a freshman, but tonight he was special. He was the difference in the game,” Jim Calhoun said of his freshman’s 20 points, 11 boards and three blocks.

Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati: Kilpatrick had 27 points as he carried Cincinnati during the middle portion of their 68-64 upset of No. 11 Georgetown.

LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State: The freshman forward scored 21 points and OK State led the Sooners by as much as 17 points in their 72-65 win. Oklahoma is now 0-3 in league play.

Justin Cecil, Mercer: Cecil scored 26 points as Mercer improved to 4-2 in Atlantic sun play.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: The nation’s most underrated point guard was terrific once again, going for 27 points and six assists in the Gael’s 87-72 win over USF.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.