Napier's triple-double leads UConn
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)
Napier finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, leading No. 19 Connecticut to an 80-62 win over their in-state rival.
''He did a great job of finding his teammates and making them better,'' Yale coach James Jones said. "And he made a couple big shots too.''
Justin Sears led Yale (1-1) with 17 points. Javier Duren added 15.
UConn (2-0) held Yale to just 31 percent shooting, while shooting better than 56 percent. But the Bulldogs outrebounded the Huskies 43-31 and 22-4 on the offensive end.
''Well, when you miss a lot of shots, there are a lot of rebounds,'' Jones said.
Omar Calhoun had 18 points and Niels Giffey added 15 for UConn, all of them in the first half. He and Calhoun combined for eight of UConn's 11 3-pointers.
Ryan Boatright hit two more and finished with 14 points for the Huskies.
Giffey hit 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions midway through the first half to give the Huskies control of what had been a tight game early.
''You're just in the zone for a little bit,'' Giffey said. ''And Shabazz really, really saw that. I hit one or two in a row, so we just kept running a couple actions for me, a couple set plays for me, and he put me in that position.''
The Bulldogs, who came back from a 17-point second-half deficit in their season opener on Saturday, got down by 21 in the second half on Monday.
A 7-0 Yale run cut the Husky lead to 66-55 with 4 minutes left. But a 3-point play by Napier stretched it back out.
''My biggest thing is I want to be an all-around player,'' Napier said. ''I want to help our team rebounding, and that's our blueprint right there. If I can help our team rebound, we're going to win.''
Amida Brimah, Connecticut's 7-foot freshman center, had seven blocked shots, giving him 10 in two games.
The Huskies started slowly, hitting just three of their first nine shots from the field, and 8 minutes into the game the teams were tied at 9-9.
But 3-pointers from Giffey on four straight possessions launched UConn on a 15-3 run that stretched the lead to 24-12.
Giffey hit his first five shots, all from behind the arc, before being forced to sit with his second foul. Boatright, Phil Nolan and DeAndre Daniels also had two before halftime, many of them as the referees tightly enforced the new rules against hand-checking.
UConn, which had 11 players score on Friday night, played 11 in the first half against Yale. Yale also went to its bench a lot, playing 10 before intermission.
UConn led at halftime 39-24.
A 3-pointer from Calhoun put the Huskies up 46-25, 2-1/2 minutes into the second half.
This was the 66th meeting between UConn and Yale, who first played in 1914, but had not met in a decade. The Huskies have won 44 of those games, including the past 13 and 28 of the past 30.
The Huskies have not been beaten by another team from Connecticut since Hartford and Yale both beat them in December of 1986, Jim Calhoun's first season as UConn's coach.
Yale rallied to win its opening game against Central Connecticut, coming back from that second-half deficit on Saturday to win by 16.
The Bulldogs travel next to Rutgers for the first time since beating the Scarlet Knights in the 2002 NIT tournament.