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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 21, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: XL Center (16,294) -- Hartford, Connecticut. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Temple 1-4, UConn 9-2. Away Record: Temple 1-4, UConn 2-2. Neutral Record: Temple 3-3, UConn 3-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-5, UConn 2-3. Series Record: Connecticut leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The Connecticut Huskies will try to get back into the win column on Tuesday night, as they host the Temple Owls in an American Athletic Conference tilt at the XL Center.
It has been a difficult season for the Owls, who are just 5-11 overall and winless in five tries against AAC foes. However, Temple's record is not indicative of how competitive the team has been, with it leading in the second half of many of its setbacks, eight of which have come by seven points or fewer. The Owls get a rematch with Cincinnati next.
As for UConn, it has enjoyed a much greater level of success this season, entering play on Tuesday with a 14-4 overall record. However, the Huskies are a middling 2-3 against the AAC after they were topped in a 76-64 decision by Louisville over the weekend. The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Huskies, who will visit Rutgers next.
These new conference rivals have met seven times previously, with UConn holding a 4-3 edge. The most recent encounter took place back in 1965 when the Huskies captured a 71-60 victory.
Temple stepped out of AAC play on Saturday to take part in a Big 5 battle with La Salle. The Owls shot 43.1 percent from the floor in the game, while allowing the Explorers to hold on for a 74-68 win behind a 52.8 percent shooting effort. Quenton DeCosey dropped in 21 points to pace the losing squad.
DeCosey (16.4 ppg) is one of four double-digit scorers on the roster for the Owls. Dalton Pepper (17.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), who leads the quartet, is a strong shooter, although he had 15 points on just 5-of-17 shooting against La Salle. Anthony Lee (14.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg) is a double-double threat every time out. The 19-point, 15-rebound effort from Lee, who is the conference's leading rebounder, against La Salle was his eight double-double of the campaign. Will Cummings (16.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) is the starting point guard normally, but he missed the game against the Explorers due to a concussion. There is not much depth for the Owls, a trademark of Fran Dunphy's squads, with no other active player scoring more than four ppg.
Connecticut was dominated on the interior against Louisville, suffering sizable deficits on the glass (45-30) and in points in the paint (40-20). The Huskies also shot at just a 35.2 percent clip from the field. Shabazz Napier poured in a game-high 30 points for UConn in defeat.
Normally it is UConn that is the dominant defensive squad, as it is letting up just 65.7 ppg on 39.2 percent shooting to its opposition. Napier (16.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.8 apg, 2 spg) is one of the most complete players in the country, as the 6-foot-1 guard is among the top-5 performers in the league in scoring, assists and steals, while also providing strong efforts on the glass. Ryan Boatright (12.3 ppg, 3.6 apg) supplements Napier's efforts in the backcourt, while DeAndre Daniels (12.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the best option in the post for the undersized Huskies.
Although the Huskies may have some difficulty against Lee, Napier and the rest of their talented guards will overwhelm the Owls and provide the difference in a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 79, Temple 69
01/21 10:49:27 ET
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