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Another overtime, another UConn win.
The Huskies improved to 4-1 in overtime games this season with a 73-66 victory overCincinnatiThursday at the XL Center inHartford.
“It was a great team victory…,” coach Kevin Ollie said. “They’re just a remarkable team. I can’t say enough about them.”
They equaled last season’s Big East win total, improving to 8-5 in the league. They are 18-7 overall with five games to go.
Here’s some post-game news, notes and quotes:
-- Junior Shabazz Napier was the overtime hero, once again. He scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in the extra session. And that’s after his off-balance runner tied the game with 41 seconds remaining in regulation.
“Shabazz was spectacular..,” Ollie said. “Whenever we need a big shot, he’s right there.”
No one in the Big East has made as many big shots as Napier this season. He’s scored 46 points in five overtime games this season.
He hit two 3-pointers to start overtime and added another for a 66-60 lead with one minute left.
Napier is a worthy Big East player-of-the-year candidate, but doesn’t think he should be considered for the honor.
“No, I think if they had a Big East team of the year it should be us,” Napier said. “I think without my teammates I wouldn’t be scoring.”
-- More on Napier: He had 11 points at halftime, but didn’t make another field goal until his game-tying drive near the end of regulation. He finished 8-for-14 from the field, including 6-for-9 from 3-point land. He also converted 8-of-9 from the line.
In Saturday’s loss to Villanova, he had a season-low two points.
-- Ollie praised the play of sophomore Ryan Boatright, who had a season-low four points and five turnovers in Saturday’s loss to Villanova.
Boatright didn’t make a big offensive contribution, scoring just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting, but he locked up Cincinnati guard Cashmere Wright, who scored all 10 of his points in the first half.
“He grew and matured,” Ollie said. “He had his head down in the last game because he wasn’t shooting the ball well. This game, he took Cashmere Wright out of the game in the second half.”
-- After halftime, Ollie shortened the rotation, sticking mainly with starters Napier, Boatright, Omar Calhoun, DeAndre Daniels and Tyler Olander. Napier played all 45 minutes and Boatright went 43.
At one point, Ollie went 12 minutes without making a sub.
-- Calhoun played with a sore right wrist that he injured against Villanova. And his injury clearly bothered him. He played a smart game, contributing 10 points and a team-best six rebounds. He went 6-for-9 from the foul line.
-- Daniels has emerged as a reliable scoring option. And he’s doing other things, too. He had 17 points, five rebounds and a career-high tying four blocks.
With UConn trailing 53-47, Daniels helped spark a 6-0 run, sinking a 3-pointer that cut the gap to one with 3:15 left in regulation.
“He gave us big time minutes,” Ollie said.
-- The Huskies went 8:51 without a field goal in the second half but never lost the lead.
-- After committing a season-high 19 turnovers against Villanova, UConn had only six on Thursday.
-- It was another ugly night on the backboards. Cincinnati held a 44-28 edge. The Bearcats scored 17 points off of 17 offensive rebounds.
Both teams shot 41 percent overall.
-- Cincinnati lost for the fourth time in five games. Sean Kilpatrick had a team-best 18 points.
-- It was the final regular season game this season at the XL Center. UConn finished with a 7-2 mark here.
-- As he’s often done this season, Ollie thanks the fans for their support. Attendance was 11,131.
“The fans were absolutely wonderful,” Ollie said. “They kept us going.”
-- Check back later for video.
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.