Former South Shore guard Terrence Samuel picked the right time for his best game in a University of Connecticut uniform.
The freshman scored seven of his 11 career-high points in the second half of the No. 7-seeded UConn’s 77–65 win over No. 2 Villanova in the third round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo last Sunday.
Samuel played 21 minutes and shot seven of eight from the free throw line. He scored two free throws to increase the Huskies’ lead to 58–51 with 3:24 remaining in the game. His layup with less than two minutes to play put UConn up nine.
“He got up on our guards and pressured our guards,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “He had good size. He drove the ball. He was good. Made free throws tonight.”
Samuel came into the game averaging just 2.2 points per contest, but Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has seen him improving at practice. He told Samuel during the Huskies’ second round win over No. 10 St. Joseph’s University that he now expects the first-year player to perform like an experienced competitor.
“He’s going to be a great player for us,” Ollie said. “He’s maturing right now. Like I told him, once he stepped on the free throw line the last game, he’s not a freshman no more.”
Samuel’s performance helped end another Brooklynite’s season. Former Bishop Loughlin star JayVaughn Pinkston scored 11 points for Villanova (29–5), and averaged 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this season. UConn advances to play No. 3 Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on March 28 at Madison Square Garden.
Brown, Manhattan fall short against Louisville: Brownsville-native Rhamel Brown, a Transit Tech alum, tallied nine points as No. 13 Manhattan lost 71–64 to No. 4 Louisville in the second round on March 21 in Orlando. Browns former Express teammate Richard Williams chipped in four points for the Jaspers. Manhattan (25–8) led the Cardinals by three with less than four minutes to play before watching the game slip away.
“We made some mistakes here and there, but that’s in the past,” Brown said. “You live and you learn. We just know for the future what we can and what we can’t do, but I think we definitely came out and stuck with them for a good amount of the game.”
UMass, Williams upset by Stanford: Bishop Ford alum Chaz Williams, a senior, tallied a game-high 19 points for the No. 6 Minutemen in an 86–67 loss to No. 11 Tennessee in the second round on March 21 in Raleigh, N.C. It was UMass’s first NCAA tournament game in 16 years. The accomplishment wasn’t any solace to Williams immediately after.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet because we just lost, and it probably will never hit me until the NCAA is over, because I feel like we’re supposed to be playing until April 7,” Williams said.