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Huskies Survive Wildcats

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By PAT EATON-ROBB   Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Ryan Boatright scored 19 points and
Connecticut avoided an upset Thursday, holding off New Hampshire
61-53 in a game that was close most of the way.
Omar Calhoun added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies
(6-1).

Ferg Myrick led all scorers with 20 points. Chris Pelcher added
16 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-4)
Connecticut never trailed and was up by 11 with 1:42 left.
But Jordon Bronner cut the lead to six points on a 3-point shot
off a Niels Giffey turnover with 1:22 left. A UConn shot-clock
violation led to a layup by Pelcher that made it 57-53 with just 36
seconds left.

But New Hampshire was forced to foul, and Boatright and Calhoun
made their free throws as UConn hung on for the win.
New Hampshire held UConn’s leading scorer, Shabazz Napier, to
just five points on just nine shots.

New Hampshire came into the game off consecutive losses to
Bryant, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Holy Cross, and
UConn, which was ranked No. 21 before losing to New Mexico last
week, was heavily favored.

It looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Huskies
early.

Connecticut had four steals in the first 4 minutes of the game
and jumped out to an 11-3 lead. But the Huskies then missed their
next eight shots and New Hampshire climbed back into the game at
13-11.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball and UConn led just 25-18
at halftime. It was the Huskies’ lowest scoring half of the season
and they missed all six of their 3-point attempts.

But New Hampshire was just 1 of 11 from behind the arc in the
half and shot just 23 percent from the floor.

Myrick’s first 3-pointer pulled the Wildcats to 18-16 extended a
streak that has seen the team hit at least one 3-pointer in 618
consecutive games, dating back to January, 1991.

UConn stretched the lead to double digits a couple times in the
second half, at 36-26 and again on Calhoun’s 3-point play, which
gave the their Huskies biggest lead with 1:42 left.

Connecticut was without its top reserve, R.J. Evans, who missed
his second straight game with an injury to his collarbone. He’s
expected to remain on the bench through Tuesday’s game in New York
against North Carolina State.

The win gives the Huskies a 3-0 record against the America East
this season. The Huskies beat Stony Brook and Vermont earlier this
month.

UConn outrebounded New Hampshire 43-40, the first time the
Huskies have won the battle on the glass this season. Connecticut
came in averaging just over 30 rebounds per game compared to 38 for
their opponents.

This is an old New England rivalry, thoroughly dominated by
UConn, which came into the game with a 90-25 series advantage.
The Wildcats haven’t beaten UConn since January, 1983, and
haven’t won a road game against the Huskies since January, 1974.

The game was the Huskies’ first this year in Hartford. They
haven’t lost their XL Center opener since being beaten by Virginia
here in 1987 and are now 25-0 since.

UConn takes a step up in competition next week, heading to New
York to play No. 18 North Carolina State in New York as part of the
Jimmy V Classic.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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