No. 4 Connecticut blows big lead in loss to UCF
This one was particularly painful for Connecticut coach Jim
Jeremy Lamb scored 15 points, but the fourth-ranked Huskies blew
a 17-point lead in the second half of a 68-63 loss to Central
Florida in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday.
Connecticut finished with 13 turnovers in its first loss since
March 5 against Notre Dame. The defending national champions had
won 16 straight games.
Calhoun said it was one of the most ”surreal” performances he
has seen during his long tenure with the Huskies.
”I can’t be more disappointed in how we played,” he said. ”We
just stopped playing. We couldn’t even get the ball inbounded near
the end. Nobody stepped up and it was a complete disaster for
Marcus Jordan and Keith Clanton had 20 points apiece for the
Knights (4-1), who had eight turnovers. Jordan also had seven
rebounds and seven assists.
Connecticut put together a 10-0 run to take a 50-33 lead with 16
minutes left. Lamb sparked the run with a 3-pointer and also hit
two free throws during the surge.
Central Florida then scored 17 of the next 19 points to pull
within two. Clanton kicked off the rally with a 3-pointer and
Jordan finished the spurt with a 3.
Lamb made another 3 to stretch the Huskies’ lead to five, but
they couldn’t hold off the pesky Knights. Jordan converted a layup,
then made two big free throws to give Central Florida a 58-57
advantage with 3:11 left. Jordan added four more foul shots down
the stretch to preserve the big win.
Jordan, the son of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, said he
received an encouraging message from one of his teammates before he
made the two free throws that gave the Knights the lead.
”He told me this shot is in my blood,” Jordan said.
Isaiah Sykes added 10 points for the Knights, including
consecutive layups that stretched Central Florida’s lead to 62-57
late in the game.
Andre Drummond finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four
blocked shots for the Huskies (5-1), who led 38-29 at halftime.
Alex Oriakhi had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
”I feel like I let the team down,” Lamb said. ”I turned the
ball over in key moments. We’ve lost games before but this hurts.
We just need to come out with energy tomorrow and be ready to
Starting point guard Shabazz Napier finished with seven
turnovers, and Lamb had three. Napier went 1 for 7 from the field
and finished with four points and five assists.
Jordan was whistled for a technical with 16 minutes left in the
game, fueling his big final surge.
”I still don’t know why I got the technical,” he said. ”But I
do know I wanted to come out and be more aggressive.”