NCAA BK

Huskies stretch streak to 16

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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP)

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun had some high praise for UNC Asheville.

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''Overall, a win is a win,'' Calhoun said after No. 4 Connecticut ran its winning streak to 16 games with a 73-63 victory over UNC Asheville on Thursday night in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. ''But no one's played us even near that hard since we played Butler last year.''

That game against Butler came in the NCAA final.

Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb each scored 23 points for Connecticut.

Napier made four 3-pointers, including a late 4-point play, and also had seven assists and three steals for the defending national champion Huskies (5-0). Connecticut shot 52 percent (25 of 47) from the field and 40.9 percent (9 of 22) from 3-point range to easily overcome 19 turnovers.

The Huskies will face Central Florida in the second round. UCF beat College of Charleston 74-63.

Matt Dickey led Asheville (2-3) with 18 points, and Jeremy Atkinson added 18.

''Matt Dickey had a great game,'' UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said. ''(J.P. Primm) had an off night. ... I wouldn't trade these two for anybody.''

After UConn raced to a 16-3 lead and took a 38-29 advantage in the second half, the Bulldogs' Chris Stephenson hit a 3-pointer to cut UConn lead to seven with 17:12 to play.

''We've played in games where we had to fight back,'' guard Matt Dickey said. ''When we cut it there, we definitely had a feeling we could make a comeback. A couple breaks that would have gone our way, and we could have gotten it closer and made a real run of it at the end.''

But the next time down the floor, Napier kept it himself, sending his defender into the air with a pump fake, then getting into the lane for an acrobatic layup.

Napier and Lamb then combined for 3-pointers on UConn's next four field goals.

''Jeremy made some shots I hadn't seem him make before,'' Calhoun said.

Tagged: UNC-Asheville, Connecticut, Matt Dickey, Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier

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