The No. 2-ranked UConn Huskies entered today’s game at the No. 22 Xavier Musketeers as 2-point favorites in a titanic Big East battle at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati on Saturday.
And then Dan Hurley cost his team a chance to win by getting a technical foul with 2:25 remaining, giving the Muskies a four-point possession and a lead they would never relinquish in a 83-73 win where all the momentum turned in one moment.
After a wild sequence with plenty of contact both ways and the score at 73-71 Musketeers, UConn’s Tristen Newton was called for a foul on XU’s Zach Freemantle. As Freemantle was on the free throw line, and after he made his first of two, Hurley got hit with the T.
That sent Souley Boum to the charity stripe for a pair which he made, and Freemantle then went back and made his second for a four-point possession. That made the lead six, and after the bucket from Adama Sanogo that cut it to four on the next possession, UConn (14-1, 3-1 Big East) never got within six again.
Barking at the refs is a necessary and evil part of college basketball for all head coaches. The stripes are a huge influence on who wins a game, and you need to point out where things you see that they don’t are happening.
But yelling enough to allow yourself to get rung up in THAT spot is failing your players. Every coach in America knows where the line is, and Hurley is a habitual line-stepper.
UConn goes down.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 31, 2022
Xavier beats the Huskies at home and the Dan Hurley technical may have ultimately cost UConn a chance for a huge road victory.
Heck of a team effort by Xavier. Freemantle, Nunge, Colby Jones, Souley Boum, Jerome Hunter all in double figures.
Bad timing on the tech from Dan Hurley— Dana O'Neil (@DanaONeilWriter) December 31, 2022
So while it wasn’t a lock UConn was going to win, their first loss of the year comes because any chance of victory got wasted by their coach. And the Musketeers (12-3, 4-0 Big East) get one that will really help in March come Selection Sunday.
The Huskies take on the Providence Friars next Wednesday in PC’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center.