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Price injury hampers Huskies in defeat

Who Cares? Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn says his team’s perception of itself is more important than its seed.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Who Cares? Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn says his team’s perception of itself is more important than its seed.

TAMPA — Connecticut's chances to advance in the NCAA Tournament were dramatically affected in the opening half Friday, not just by San Diego's play, but by the loss of junior guard A.J. Price.

Price, named second-team All-America by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, drove to the basket with 9:39 to go and injured his left knee. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital for an MRI exam after the game. Results weren't known, but team officials fear an ACL injury.

"I was pushing off to go up and I just felt everything go wrong in my knee," he said. "I took pressure off of it as fast as I could. I was thinking about giving it a go, at one point I felt like I could, but when I did some warmup stuff in the locker room, I just didn't think I could go."

Price, the team's leader in scoring (14.9 points a game) and assists (6.0), had no points and one assist in nine minutes. He watched from the bench as his team lost 70-69 in overtime.

"I was saying all week how interested I was to play in my first (NCAA) Tournament and knowing that my team needed me tonight. It was extremely difficult to watch," he said.

Time difference: When Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy took the court Friday night, his family and friends were perched in front of their televisions at home Saturday morning.

Yes, today.

The freshman star is a native of Sydney, Australia, where it was about 10 a.m. today when the Commodores took on Siena.

"I spoke to my parents and they said they were going to be watching and a few of my friends said they'd be watching," Ogilvy said. "It's Saturday back home, so no one's going to be at work. They'll have plenty of time on the weekend."

Another 5-12 upset: Since the field expanded in 1985, a No.  12 seed had upset a No.  5 seed 29 times and in 20 of 23 years. But Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn had insisted his team's seed, 12, was "irrelevant" going into its game against Drake.

"We've got a group that thinks they're pretty good and we've played a schedule over the last couple of years that they're used to playing against the best names in the country. I don't think that we need to convince them that we're an underdog and we can win the game," Horn said presciently.

ApologY accepted: As his postgame news conference started, San Diego coach Bill Grier asked for forgiveness if he started coughing. He has been sick.

"This," he said of the win, "will I'm sure make me feel a lot better."

Carrying the banner: San Diego, which was joined by Gonzaga and St. Mary's in the NCAA field, is the lone West Coast Conference team standing.

"I'm disappointed for both those teams because I have felt certainly all year long that they're both two of the Top 25 teams in the country," Grier said. "Certainly it's great for our league that we won, but bigger than that I think it's great for our university. To never have won a game in the NCAA Tournament, I'm really excited for our university and the community of San Diego."

Two for the books: With a combined 30 3-pointers, Drake (16) and Western Kentucky (14) set a tournament record. West Virginia (18) and Louisville (11) had the record from a region final in 2005. Louisville won it overtime. With 70 attempts from long range, Drake (42) and Western Kentucky (28) set another record. UCLA (36) and Cincinnati (30) had set the mark with 60 in a second-round in 2002.

Lots of noise: Though there were about 3,000 empty seats in the Times Forum, which was set up for about 21,500, Horn praised the atmosphere. "Great crowd out there," he said. "Any time you're in the NCAA Tournament action, there is a totally different feeling. That is one of the things that makes it so special."

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this story.

Price injury hampers Huskies in defeat 03/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:45am]
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