After holding out hope that junior forward DeAndre Daniels would be able to play against No. 7 Cincinnati on Thursday night, No. 22 UConn will be without its second-leading scorer for the American Athletic Conference matchup due to back spasms.
The news was reported via Twitter by Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant. Senior forward Niels Giffey, who currently ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage (55.6%), will start in Daniels’ place.
Daniels suffered the ankle injury in the first half of UConn’s win at Rutgers on January 25, sitting out a blowout win over Houston as a result. But just as it looked like he was recovering from that injury, the back issues began for Daniels. Daniels is currently averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, ranking second on the team in rebounding as well.
Given UConn’s struggles on the glass for much of this season (point guard Shabazz Napier is the team’s leading rebounder), not having Daniels against Cincinnati is a tough blow to absorb. The Bearcats are grabbing just over 40% of their missed shots this season, ranking sixth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.