Mar 03, 2012; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Roscoe Smith (22) shoots the ball in the second half against Pittsburgh Panthers forward J.J. Moore (44) at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated the Panthers 74-65. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
After missing eight games, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun returned on Saturday and led his Huskies team to a 74-65 win over Pittsburgh.
In their final regular season game, the UConn Huskies snapped a two-game losing streak and defeated Pitt 74-65 to finish the Big East season at 8-10. Connecticut got a huge boost yesterday when head coach Jim Calhoun returned to practice. There was still some uncertainty about whether he would coach today but word came down this morning that he would indeed be on the bench after missing eight games recovering back surgery. The Huskies were just 3-5 in his absence, and absolutely needed to beat a struggling Panthers team to stay on the bubble heading into next week's Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden
With Selection Sunday a week away, read more here on SB Nation's bracketology projections.
The Huskies were led by Shabazz Napier, the point guard responsible for their last win against Villanova almost two weeks ago. Napier drilled four three-pointers on Saturday and finished with 23 points, six assists, and four steals. Calhoun rode his floor leader for the full forty minutes. Roscoe Smith added 14 points and seven rebounds on the interior for UConn. Smith was active all afternoon, following with a couple put-back dunks.
Pitt, which at one point cracked the top ten in the polls this season, ended a miserable conference season at 5-13. It's the first time we've seen the Panther program go through these kind of struggles under Jamie Dixon. They kept it interesting throughout, taking a lead with two and a half minutes to play. But as was the case all year, they simply ran out of gas on the offensive end in the final minutes. Athletic wing J.J. Moore led the Panthers with 16 points. They will need a miraculous championship run in the Big East tournament to continue their season.