Was it a foul? Did the officials have it right when they whistled UConn's Gavin Edwards for fouling UC freshman forward Lance Stephenson with 0.7 seconds remaining, allowing Stephenson to hit the game-winning free throws?
Me, I couldn't tell - neither live, sitting 30 feet away, nor on the monitor replays.
Lance, what do you think?
"(Jerome Dyson) forced me left, I spun, and the big man ran into me."
Cronin, your thoughts?
"I saw a lot of contact early, before he got in the lane. Once he got in the lane, I thought it was pretty obvious. But obviously, I'm biased."
I bet UConn coach Jim Calhoun might have another opinion.
"You can look at the replays, too," he said. "I haven't seen a good replay. With 0.7 on the clock?"
Then, Calhoun shrugged.
Well, whichever the case, Stephenson, a freshman playing in a big game on national TV, had two chances to hit what turned out to be the game-winning free throws. Cronin said he wasn't nervous, that Stephenson shows up on gameday. Stephenson, meanwhile, only had one thought in his head.
"All I was thinking was to let me get to the free throw line, because I knew I was going to knock them down," he said.
And knock them down he did.
"It's a tough situation to be in as a freshman," senior guard Deonta Vaughn said. "But we shoot those types of shots in practice where it's a pressure shot. We've been shooting a lot of free throws. He's been excellent in practice. I knew he was going to make at least one of them."
free throws obviously were huge, but equally as important was the way UC played
the Huskies. After the game, Cronin said his program is to the point where it
looks like a UConn-type program, because the Bearcats have the physicality and
the talent to compete with the top-tier teams on a daily basis. The big
question, though, is what happens Saturday at
Do the Bearcats play like they did against UConn, or do they revert back to the disinterested form they showed vs. UAB on Dec. 16?
danger in playing those preconference games - when you play a UAB who has a
very good coach and who has veteran guys who don't lose at home - your players
don't have the same respect," Cronin said. "Our guys understand
Said Vaughn: "We need to play every team like they're a top-25 team. We have to think every team is a top-10 team and play up to our level, because we're a top-25 team in our eyes."
continues to play better after a tough start to the season. Entering last
like I've been trying to tell him," Cronin said. "Although we played well in
Tonight, though, the Bearcats also discovered they can win when Vaughn isn't in the game down the stretch. Although he fouled out with 1:30 to go, UC still managed to take the win. Stephenson would prefer not to try that again.
"He has to always be in the game," Stephenson said. "I hope he doesn't have to come out of the game again."
I also found it interesting that Cronin tapped sophomore Dion Dixon to run the point guard spot in Vaughn's absence, rather than redshirt freshman Cashmere Wright - who only played six minutes tonight.
"I was worried about Cash in that situation because he didn't have a lot of minutes in the second half," Cronin said. "Dion Dixon, I have a lot of confidence in. He's a confident ball-handler. He's a guy who could probably play the point for us."
--UConn entered the game as the nation's leader in blocked shots with 10.1 per game. UC held the Huskies to zero.
didn't block a shot and won the game, I wouldn't care," Calhoun said. "I'm sure
when we go to the video tape we'll see blocked shots. Give