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No. 14 UConn gets back on track, tops Cincinnati

Feb 28, 2011 - 4:57 AM Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Kemba Walker scored 16 points and three freshman Huskies had solid efforts, as No. 14 Connecticut got past Cincinnati, 67-59, at Fifth Third Arena.

Jeremy Lamb tallied 17 points, Roscoe Smith had 11 points and five rebounds and Shabazz Napier chipped in 11 points and six assists, as the frosh triumvirate helped Connecticut (21-7, 9-7 Big East) snap a two-game skid.

Yancy Gates posted 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bearcats (22-7, 9-7), who had won their previous three games, including two over ranked opponents.

UConn head coach Jim Calhoun missed Thursday's overtime loss to Marquette due to a death in his family, another blow in a week that saw his program get placed on probation for recruiting violations.

"Well given the week that I personally had emotionally with my family, I couldn't have gotten a better present from my young players to reemerge," Calhoun said. "We were worried about them hitting a wall. We were concerned that it was getting to a point that they were physically and emotionally beat. I thought that we really got great combinations from tonight."

Calhoun's club gave him something to cheer about Sunday, though, never trailing in the first half behind eight points apiece from Lamb and Smith for a 30-27 halftime edge.

Cincinnati took its first and only lead at 33-32 on two Cashmere Wright free throws 3:23 into the second half, but the Huskies scored nine straight points a little later with two Walker free throws yielding a 44-35 cushion.

Walker showed his arsenal on three straight possessions near the midway point, as the Big East Player of the Year candidate hit a three, went in for a layup following a steal and drained a jumper, the latter giving UConn a 56-45 edge with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

The closest the Bearcats got from there was seven, 63-56, on Sean Kilpatrick's three-pointer with 1:20 remaining.

Kilpatrick missed on the inside the next time down, and Lamb stripped Gates of a rebound following Alex Oriakhi's missed free throw to end the comeback bid.

"I thought there were two major factors today. Number one was our 17 turnovers and 10 of them were within 2 feet of the rim," Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said. "They just slapped the ball away from us. Second thing our guards were outplayed as much as could be possible today. Really everything else is just talk. At the end of the day, their guards outplayed our guards unmercifully, and we got 8 to 10 turnovers."

Game Notes

Kilpatrick and Rashad Bishop each had 11 points for Cincinnati, which shot just 4-for-17 from three-point range...The Huskies made 10-of-19 from long range...UConn closes out its regular season at West Virginia on Wednesday and home against Notre Dame on Saturday...Cincy plays at Marquette and home against Georgetown on the same days.