Huskies stretch streak to 16
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP)
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun had some high praise for UNC Asheville.
''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.
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.