Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick said this week he thought he should have won the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Award that went to Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier.
After winning a quarterfinal game in the conference tournament Thursday, Napier took issue with the notion.
"He cares so much about that MVP," Napier said. "I don't care about that. Those guys believe he won it? He can have it."
It was appropriate then that Friday night's semifinal between the top-seeded Bearcats and the fourth-seeded Huskies came down to Napier and Kilpatrick being heavily involved in the outcome with Napier ultimately prevailing again 58-56 when Kilpatrick's tying layup attempt rolled off the rim in the final seconds.
Kilpatrick was only able to have a tying attempt from so close to the basket because Napier missed the second of two free throws on the other end second earlier that would have given the Huskies at three-point lead.
UConn advanced to the AAC final to play old Big East Conference rival and defending national champion Louisville, which might be the hottest team in the nation over the past three games. The first of those three games was a 33-point win over UConn in the regular season finale for both teams.
But let's not close the book on this Napier-Kilpatrick drama just yet. Napier finished with a team-best 15 points and also had four rebounds. Kilpatrick scored 14 points with four steals. For all the talk about the Player of the Year honor and the two guard's offensive capabilities, the game became a defensive struggle with neither player able to impose his will.
Cincinnait endured one stretch in the second half in which it made just one field goal over more than 10 minutes. Kilpatrick went scoreless for more than 13 minutes.
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