(WTNH)–Jalen Adams just kept coming, getting to the basket at will and leading UConn’s charge back from as many as 14 points down in the second half against Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, the referees didn’t allow the Huskies to catch up.
UConn was whistled for 32 fouls, and Cincinnati converted on 38 of 46 free throw attempts, coming away with just enough to thwart the Huskies’ second-half comeback attempt.
Cincinnati edged UConn, 81-71, ending the Huskies’ season in the American Athletic Conference semifinals. The Bearcats (29-4) will meet SMU on Sunday for the championship.
UConn (16-17) suffered its first losing season in 30 years.
A key foul call on Jalen Adams (his third) in the first half sent him to the bench with 7:50 to go. He sat there while the Huskies struggled to score, as has been the case all season without him, watching as the Bearcats went on a 20-10 run to close out the period.
That run would be the difference in the game.
UConn roared back in the second half, drawing as close as 55-51, but a foul call on Vance Jackson put Cincinnati back on the line.
The Bearcats attempted 31 free throws in the second half.
Gary Clark led Cincinnati with 25 points. He went 15-of-16 from the foul line.
Troy Caupain had 18 points and 5 assists for the Bearcats.
When asked about his team’s ability to get to the line after the game, Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin was defensive.
“Are you trying to insinuate that UConn got cheated?” he asked, shaking his head.
Cincinnati was called for 24 team fouls, and the Huskies went 20-for-25 from the free throw line.
Rodney Purvis (10 points), Amida Brimah (4 points, 8 rebounds) and Kentan Facey (7 points) played their final games in UConn uniforms.