|Bearcats’ Lance Stephenson soars past UConn’s Kemba Walker en route to 2 of his 21 points. (Tom Uhlman/Associated Press)|
With 10,409 fans holding their breath and the game on the line, Lance Stephenson calmly dribbled the ball, lined up his free throw, and made it. Then, he made another.
No freshman nerves there.
Stephenson was fouled with less than a second to play and made both free throws last night, rallying host Cincinnati to a breakthrough 71-69 victory over No. 10 Connecticut in a wild Big East opener for both teams that was settled by the Bearcats’ most highly regarded recruit in years.
“All I was thinking was let me go to the free throw line because I knew I was going to knock them down,’’ said Stephenson, who finished 7 of 7 from the line.
Cincinnati (9-3) had lost all five previous games against UConn (9-3) and watched this one nearly slip away, too. The Bearcats led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but the Huskies made a late run and tied it on Kemba Walker’s 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds to go.
Stephenson dribbled into the lane on the final play and was fouled by Gavin Edwards a few feet from the basket as the buzzer sounded. After a review, the officials put seven-10ths of a second on the clock, and Stephenson went to the line for his 20th and 21st points.
North Carolina 87, Albany 70 - Ed Davis had 18 points to help the No. 9 Tar Heels (11-3) beat the Great Danes (4-10) in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Deon Thompson added 15 points for the Tar Heels.
Michigan St. 87, Texas-Arlington 68 - Durrell Summers and Draymond Green combined for 39 points to lead the No. 11 host Spartans (10-3) over the Mavericks (5-5).
Temple 70, N. Illinois 60 - Juan Fernandez scored 26 points and Ryan Brooks added 19 for the No. 18 Owls (11-2), who tuned up for a weekend game with No. 1 Kansas with a victory over the Huskies (2-8) in DeKalb, Ill.
Virginia 72, UAB 63 - Sylven Landesberg scored 19 points and had two free throws and two key assists in the final 2:36 as the host Cavaliers (7-4) ended the No. 24 Blazers’ (11-2) 10-game winning streak.
Illinois 89, Northwestern 83 - Mike Tisdale had a career-high 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the
Davidson 63, UMass 61 - JP Kuhlman hit two free throws with four seconds left to lift the host Wildcats (6-8) over the Minutemen (6-7), who got 21 points from Ricky Harris.
Harvard 66, George Washington 53 - Jeremy Lin had a prolific night with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 steals, 5 assists, and 2 blocks as the Crimson (9-3) remained unbeaten at home after defeating the Colonials (9-3).
Vermont 71, Mount St. Mary’s 69 - Marqus Blakely scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Joey Accaoui hit the winning free throws with 2.5 seconds left as the Catamounts (9-5) held off the Mountaineers (3-9) in Emmitsburg, Md.
Maine 65, Columbia 59 - Sean McNally had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals as the Black Bears (6-5) beat the Lions (5-6) in New York.
UNH 63, Colgate 55 - Alvin Abreu had 24 points and eight rebounds as the host Wildcats (5-5) defeated the Raiders (1-10) in Durham, N.H.
Tennessee 102, Old Dominion 62 - Angie Bjorklund scored all but 3 of her 19 points in the first half and the No. 4 Lady Vols (11-1) defeated the Lady Monarchs (2-8) in Knoxville, Tenn.
Baylor 100, Texas-Pan American 46 - Brittney Griner had 17 points and eight blocks and the No. 5 Bears (12-1) opened the game with a 20-2 run in beating the visiting Broncs (2-11).
Georgia 80, Savannah St. 45 - Jasmine Hassell scored 13 points, Anne Marie Armstrong had 12 points, and the No. 9 Lady Bulldogs (13-0) forced 28 turnovers in defeating the Lady Tigers (8-8) in Savannah, Ga.
Texas A&M 84, New Mexico 69 - Danielle Adams scored all 19 of her points in the second half, leading the No. 10 Aggies (11-1) over the Lobos (8-4) in Albuquerque.
Syracuse 58, UNH 48 - The Wildcats (5-7) got 18 points and five rebounds from Denise Beliveau, but it wasn’t nearly enough to hold off the undefeated No. 23 Orange (12-0) in Syracuse.
Delaware, 57, UMass 55 - The visiting Minutewomen (6-7) rallied from a 7-point deficit, but fell short of the Blue Hens (8-3) when Elena Delle Donne scored the winning layup with 4.3 seconds left. Megan Zullo led UMass with 15 points.