Omar Calhoun, a freshman who rarely sees a shot he does not like, did not make a three-point shot, did not even attempt one.
The wrapping on his right wrist made it unthinkable for a night. But for Calhoun, sitting was just as unthinkable.
"I can do other things besides shoot," he said, "pass, rebound, help my team out."
Even with the strongest part of his game missing, the Huskies, with their thin roster, needed Calhoun out there against Cincinnati. He said he sprained his right wrist against Villanova last Saturday, and though he played the rest of the game, scoring 16 points, mostly from the free throw line, the injury became more problematic in practice.
On Thursday morning, Calhoun was still considered very questionable by the coaches. But after the shoot-around, it was decided he would be allowed to try it. His first two free throw attempts were way off.
"Oh, wow," he said, "I said, 'It's going to be a long night.' … I just had to get used to the wrapping."
Once he recalibrated his release, Calhoun made 6 of his next 7 from the line, including two crucial shots in OT to help seal UConn's 73-66 win. He made a runner in the second half, using the glass and getting a good roll, and he got a goaltending call in the first half. He ended up with 10 points, six rebounds and an assist. UConn, outrebounded 44-28, needed all the help it could get under the boards, so coach Kevin Ollie stayed with Calhoun for 38 minutes, even though the Bearcats had to know they did not have to worry about him on the perimeter.
"Omar is just growing up before our eyes every game," Ollie said. "Getting those tough rebounds, those 50-50 balls, it's a beautiful thing to watch, his evolution as a player."
Said Shabazz Napier, "For a freshman to go out there and know how to help his team in dire straits, that just shows you how mature he is. I'm glad he's my teammate."
With rest and treatment, Calhoun's sprain figures to be OK by next week.
On To DePaul
The Huskies have a quick turnaround, practicing Friday afternoon and then heading to Chicago, where they will play DePaul on Saturday night. It will be third time this season Ryan Boatright will be playing close enough to his hometown, Aurora, Ill., for his family and friends to come. But this is very close, and there should be plenty of tickets available with DePaul 11-15, 2-11 in the Big East.
"Back to my crib," Boatright said. "There should be a lot of people there — a lot of UConn people."
Boatright, who scored only four points against Villanova, scored nine against Cincinnati, but none in the second half and only two in OT. Ollie was especially pleased that, when his shots were not going in, Boatright ramped up the defensive pressure on Cincy's Cashmere Wright.
"When you're not scoring," Boatright said, "you don't want to compound it by letting your man score a lot of points."
Wright had 10 points at halftime, none thereafter. "Ryan grew and matured," Ollie said. "He had his head down last game when he wasn't shooting the ball well. This game, he picked it up and he took Cashmere Wright out of the game in the second half."
More StrugglesOn The Boards
This was a game in which the Huskies really missed Enosch Wolf, who is suspended indefinitely following an arrest on Feb. 11. Tyler Olander had two rebounds in 32 minutes, Phil Nolan had none in three minutes as the Huskies were again mauled on the boards, 17-6 offensively. The Bearcats outscored UConn 34-14 in the paint. … UConn had 19 turnovers in the loss to Villanova, but only six against Cincinnati. … UConn had a potential 2014 recruit at the game, high-scoring guard Khadeem Carrington from Bishop Loughlin High in New York. Carrington, who was also at the Louisville game Jan. 14, may make an official visit to UConn after his season is over. ... UConn had a potential 2014 recruit at the game, high scoring guard Khadeem Carrington from Bishop Loughlin High in New York. Carrington, who was at the Louisville game Jan. 14, may visit UConn after his season is over.