Connecticut 65, Notre Dame 58By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 12, 2013 4:30 PM EST
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Shabazz Napier scored 19 points and Tyler Olander added 16 as Connecticut held off a late Notre Dame surge to claim a 65-58 Big East upset victory Saturday at Joyce Center. Notre Dame (14-2, 2-1) saw a 12-game winning streak end and suffered its first loss at home in 12 starts. Ryan Boatright, making a return to his native Midwest, hit four late free throws to help preserve the lead and finished with 14 points for the Huskies (12-3, 2-1). Eric Atkins paced the Irish with 18 points, Jack Cooley had 14 and Jerian Grant added 11 as Notre Dame forced a 58-58 tie on a late Atkins bucket but couldn't overtake the visitors. The 58 points were Notre Dame's fewest since a 58-49 season-opening victory on Nov. 11 over Evansville. Notre Dame led through nearly the entire first half, using inside penetration and 16 points in the paint to help build a 31-20 halftime lead. Connecticut, meanwhile, used 3-pointers to stay with the hosts. Napier had three, including a distance shot with 1:33 remaining to force the game's second tie at 29-29. He had a game-high 13 points in the first half. Cooley restored the Irish lead at 31-29 with a long jumper 28 seconds later and wrapped up the half with a team-high eight points. UConn claimed its first lead at 16:04 of the second half when Olander's long jumper gave the Huskies a 36-35 edge. Cameron Biedscheid replied 24 seconds later as the Irish reclaimed the lead. Over the next nine minutes, there were two lead changes and five ties, but the advantage slipped the Huskies' way as they claimed the lead at 48-46 on Napier's jumper with 9:03 showing. They kept it until the 1:10 mark, when Atkins tied the game at 58-58 on a bank shot. But Boatright hit four straight free throws over a 12-second span in the final minute and Deandre Daniels put in a layup after a missed Olander free throw to preserve the lead. NOTES: Connecticut's match against No. 17 Notre Dame was the first of two straight against nationally ranked foes. The Huskies are home against No. 3 Louisville on Monday. ... Saturday's game was only the second true road game for Connecticut, which has also had five neutral-site games and eight at home. ... Notre Dame's 14-1 start was its best under coach Mike Brey. The last time the Irish went 14-1 was in 1973-74 when they started 24-1 before losing their second of the season. ... The Huskies hold an 18-10 series lead although the Irish have won four of the last six. ... Irish senior forward Scott Martin earned Big East weekly honors after scoring 22 points -- including 6 of 7 on 3-pointers -- in last Saturday's victory over Seton Hall. ... It was something of a homecoming for Boatright, who starred in Illinois at East Aurora High School, about 130 miles west of South Bend. ... Next up for Notre Dame is a Tuesday match at St. John's.
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