Caupain scores 20, leads Cincinnati past sloppy UConn 70-58
CINCINNATI (AP) From the career-high point total to the glare on his face, Troy Caupain showed Connecticut that it was going to be different this time around.
The point guard scored a career-high 20 points on Thursday night before leaving with his second technical foul, and Cincinnati never trailed during a 70-58 victory over the sloppy Huskies to split the season series.
Cincinnati (15-5, 6-2 American Athletic) won its third in a row overall and improved to 12-1 at home this season.
”If you’re going to be in the race for the league, you’ve got to hold service at home,” associate head coach Larry Davis said. ”You can’t lose. Our guys know that. They were not happy about our loss up there (at UConn) and the way we lost. So tonight they were ready for a little payback.”
Caupain made eight of his nine shots. He picked up his second technical for taunting with 2:24 to go and Cincinnati up by 14 points.
UConn (11-8, 4-3) won the teams’ first matchup in Connecticut on Jan. 10, with Ryan Boatright scoring 18 points in a 67-60 victory. The conference’s stingiest defense clamped down on him in the rematch and held him without a field goal until there was 12:56 left in the game.
”I kind of took that game real personal,” Caupain said. ”He’s a great player and matchups like that – that’s what you come to college basketball for. Playing against Boatright and having a wonderful game were running through my mind in practice.”
Boatright, who leads the AAC in scoring at 16.5 points per game, finished with a flurry and wound up with 22 points on 6-of-17 shooting. UConn turned it over 17 times and shot only 33 percent from the field overall.
”You know, it was just everything,” coach Kevin Ollie said. ”It is just a broken record. We have to be tough in an atmosphere like this.
”You try to establish something in the first five minutes and we didn’t. It just snowballed after that.”
The Bearcats opened the game with a 7-0 run as the Huskies came out slow and sloppy, turning the ball over on four of their first five possessions. They had 13 turnovers in the first half alone. Boatright missed all six of his field goal tries and managed only a pair of free throws in the half, which ended with Cincinnati ahead 30-22.
A 3-pointer by Caupain pushed it to 39-26. UConn didn’t get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Caupain got his first technical for going nose-to-nose with Rodney Purvis after getting fouled in the second half. Purvis also got a technical. Caupain’s second was for taunting as he ran up the floor after a Cincinnati basket, although the guard claimed he was yelling to a teammate.
CLARK MUCH BETTER
Cincinnati forward Gary Clark managed only two points and five rebounds in the game at UConn. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the rematch.
Connecticut: In the three previous games, UConn had shot better from beyond arc than from inside it. The Huskies had trouble making a shot from anywhere on Thursday and went 8 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats are 8-3 since coach Mick Cronin was sidelined by a problem with a blood vessel in the back of his head, which will prevent him from coaching games or practice this season.
Connecticut plays at Houston on Sunday, then returns home against East Carolina on Wednesday.
Cincinnati is on the road for its next two games, at East Carolina on Sunday and at Southern Methodist on Thursday.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay