By PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ Rodney Purvis tied a career-high with 21 points to lead UConn over Columbia 80-65 on Monday.
Ryan Boatright added 20 and the two guards combined to go 6 of 8 from 3-point range for UConn (5-4). The Huskies came in shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range this season but made nine of 16 from behind the arc.
Maodo Lo had 24 points to lead Columbia (6-4), which stayed with the Huskies for most of the game.
Columbia scored the first five points of the second half to take a 41-39 lead, but that was the last lead they enjoyed.
Boatright scored the next four points and UConn held a slim lead through most of the second half.
Purvis scored five consecutive points to stretch a one-point UConn lead to 58-52. He gave the Huskies their first double-digit lead with a 3-pointer that made it 67-56, and the Huskies cruised from there.
Purvis hit seven of his eight shots from the field. Amida Brimah had 14 points and three blocked shots for UConn. Daniel Hamilton added 11 points including a couple of key 3-pointers in the second half.
UConn got off to a quick start, hitting its first four shots and scoring the game’s first nine points, including three baskets by Boatright.
But Columbia was able to get inside on the Huskies and quickly got back into the game, outscoring the Huskies 20-14 in the paint in the first half.
A backdoor layup by Lo gave Columbia its first lead at 17-15.
Both teams took 28 shots from the floor in the first half and made 16 of them.
Rodney Purvis hit all four of his shots before intermission, including two 3-pointers. He had 11 points in the half and Boatright had 14, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the Huskies into halftime with a 39-36 lead.
Lo, a junior from Berlin, Germany, has now scored at least 20 points in five of Columbia’s last six games.
Columbia: The Lions have now played both participants in last year’s national championship game. Columbia led Kentucky 11-0 and stayed ahead into the second half before falling 56-46 on Dec. 10.
UConn: The Huskies are 1-1 against the Ivy League this season, losing to Yale 45-44 on Dec. 5. That broke a streak of 22 straight wins against Ivy League opponents that dated back to 1986.
UConn plays in-state rival Central Connecticut on Dec. 28 in Hartford.
Columbia returns home to face Colgate on Dec. 28.
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