Connecticut 75, Central Florida 55

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Connecticut put five players in double figures and withstood a second-half surge by Central Florida to score a 75-55 victory.

Guard Shabazz Napier had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead the 22nd-ranked Huskies (18-5, 6-4 American Athletic Conference). Forward Lasan Kromah added 17 points and seven rebounds, and forward DeAndre Wilson finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Guard Isaiah Sykes and reserve center Justin McBride were a two-man show for UCF, which couldn't overcome the Huskies' depth. Sykes scored 10 of his 17 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. McBride entered the game with just under 15 minutes to go, and he finished with 13 points and three rebounds.

UCF (9-12, 1-9) lost its eighth consecutive game.

Connecticut outscored UCF 24-6 in the last 10 minutes of the first half to take a 41-24 halftime lead.

The Huskies traded baskets with the Knights for the first 10 minutes of the second half, being very patient against the UCF zone and working around the considerable presence of McBride, a 6-foot-10, 310-pounder.

McBride bullied the Huskies around the basket for 11 points in seven minutes. When F Kasey Wilson hit a 3-pointer, UCF was within 57-49 with 7:20 to play.

That woke up the Huskies, who responded quickly. Forward Phillip Nolan hit a follow shot, Napier had a steal and breakaway layup, then was fouled after another steal and sank two free throws.

The surge pushed the lead to 63-49, and UCF never got closer the rest of the game.

It didn't take Connecticut long to find a weakness in the UCF defense. Nolan had a dunk, a layup and a jump hook on three straight possessions early in the game to expose the Knights' interior defense.

Daniels followed with three more baskets from in close, but the Huskies still trailed 18-17 after UCF guard Matt Williams' 3-pointer with 10:08 left in the half.

Sykes hit four of his first six shots and had 10 points before the Huskies adjusted. UConn surrounded Sykes with two or three defenders when he got near the lane, and he didn't score in the final 10:49 of the half.

UConn outscored UCF 24-6 the rest of the half. The Huskies posted 9-0 and 10-0 runs, with the scoring split almost evenly between six players.

NOTES: Connecticut is on pace to set school records for 3-pointers attempted (18.5 per game) and made (7.5). ... UCF is shooting 60 percent from the free-throw line, which is last in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights made eight of 16 foul shots Sunday. ... Before Sunday, opponents were shooting 48.8 percent against UCF in conference games. The Knights were shooting only 39.1 percent in AAC games. UCF made 39.2 percent from the floor against Connecticut, which shot 47.6 percent.
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