The proverbial "Road to Nowhere" got a lot longer for the UConn men's basketball team when Rick Pitino's feisty Louisville squad came to Hartford and took it to the Huskies 76-69 before a sellout crowd of 16,294 at the Civic Center on Feb. 25.
Louisville had pulled away to an 11 point first-half lead, when UConn rallied back to knot the game - twice - before the Cardinals pulled away to seal the deal. Freshman guard Jerome Dyson drained a trey from the corner (No. 6 in the game for Dyson, tying his career best) to knot the game at 58. Louisville regained the lead on a jumper by Terrence Williams, but the Huskies came right back on a seeing-eye 10-foot jumper from Jeff Adrian that hit the rim, bounded high, then came right back down through the net. But a three-pointer by Louisville's Ed Clark seemed to put a spike in the Huskies' hearts, giving the Cardinals the lead for good. A.J. Price took it to the hoop to cut the Louisville lead to two points - 65-62 with 1:52 remaining, but that is as close as the Huskies would come.
Dyson was once again the offensive leader for the Huskies with a game-high 23 points. It was the third time in the past four games he has scored 20 or more points. Sophomore Jeff Adrian (16 points) registered double figures in scoring for the 23rd time this season. Meanwhile, freshman center Hasheem Thabeet let is 7-foot-4-inch presence be known with five blocked shots and a team-best 7 rebounds for the Huskies.
Williams led Louisville with 17 points, while Derrick Caracter scored 16, all in the first half.
"Connecticut, for years and years, these are the games we won; 60-60, these are the games we won," said a dejected Jim Calhoun after the game. "Games come down to who's going to make plays when it counts, and eight straight times Louisville did and we didn't, and that was the ballgame. We did dig a hole for ourselves early by turning the ball over at what was going to be like a 40 turnover pace."
NIT, Here We Come: The loss dropped the Huskies to 17-11 overall, and 6-8 in Big East play. Louisville improved to 21-8 (11-4). The Huskies next host Villanova on Wed., Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion (ESPN), before concluding their regular season on Saturday, Mar. 3 at No. 12 Georgetown at noon (CBS, Channels 3 and 2 locally).
Less We Forget: Stamford's Craig Austrie (10 points) and AJ Price (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Huskies vs. Louisville.
A Question of Balance: The Huskies' 69-points was their top offensive performance in the past eight games, but the 76 points allowed was the most given up since the 84 points scored by Providence on January 27.