No. 17 UConn 67, Notre Dame 53

Connecticut was able to come together for a big win even in the

midst of more off-the-court controversy.

The 17th-ranked Huskies had a big second half Saturday and beat

Notre Dame 67-53, snapping the Fighting Irish’s 29-game home

winning streak behind the 16 points of Shabazz Napier and the 10

points and 13 rebounds of freshman Andre Drummond

On Friday night, Connecticut decided freshman guard Ryan

Boatright would be held out by the school while the NCAA

investigates eligibility matters that predate his enrollment at the


”I called him out of the meal and I told him,” said Huskies

coach Jim Calhoun, who missed the first three Big East games this

season over an NCAA suspension. ”He was in my arms and talking

about the 300 people who were coming to the game to watch him play.

But I will tell you that nothing is going to injure or hurt Ryan

Boatright. I have nothing to say about it. I feel about it, but I

have nothing to say.”

The team dedicated the game to Boatright, who is from nearby

Aurora, Ill., according to teammates Roscoe Smith and Shabazz


Boatright, a speedy 6-foot guard who has averaged more than 10

points and three assists in 10 games, was suspended for the first

six games of the season for an infraction that involved accepting a

plane ticket last year while he was playing AAU basketball.

The school, in a statement, said the latest development ”arises

from additional information provided by the NCAA that pertains to

conditions and events that predate the university’s relationship

with Boatright.”

Calhoun emphasized that the Boatright controversy was beyond the

control of his team and they would deal with it as a team.

”We were energized, tonight,” said Calhoun, who was suspended

for failure to create an atmosphere of compliance within his

program. `’We had a pretty emotional talk. But it is about us. It

is not about anyone but us and we can’t control the world but we

can control what we do. Tonight we stayed with things and the

biggest thing in life is just staying with things.”

Alex Oriakhi added 12 points for the Huskies (14-3, 4-2 Big


Eric Atkins scored 20 points for Notre Dame (11-7, 3-2), who led

25-24 at halftime as Atkins went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

Calhoun said his team talked about defending the 3-pointer

better at halftime.

”We got over those and we made sure the third guy in line

rotated,” he said. ”We did a good job of not letting that man be

free. So the third guy in line got in there. He just can’t come out

late. We talked a little bit about that at halftime and our guys

seemed to respond really well.”

The Huskies shot 56 percent in the second half, while the Irish

closed the game by making 12 of 36 shots.

Connecticut used an 18-8 run over the first 10 minutes of the

second half to take a 42-33 lead. The Irish scored five straight

points, but UConn answered with a 12-2 run that made it 54-40 with

3:41 left.

The Huskies outrebounded Notre Dame 43-33 – including getting 14

offensive rebounds that were converted into 16 points – and made 15

free throws compared to five for the Irish.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said UConn’s defense was the key.

”It was hard for us to anything offensively against their

defense,” he said. ”First half, we had some open stuff – some

layups, free throws right before half. Second half, we got looks

but they were kind of hurried and they were hurried because of

Connecticut’s length. Their size beat us up on the backboard at

times. They were hard to keep off the board. We were trying. We

kept fighting. Not today.”

Brey was philosophical about the end of the streak.

”It was a pretty good run,” he said. ”Amazing when you think

about it. I’m really proud of our overall body of work at home. So,

you get a chance to start another streak.”

Atkins had 13 points in the first half when both teams shot

below 40 percent. But Notre Dame made five 3-pointers while

Connecticut didn’t make any shots from behind the arc.

Notre Dame led by five points with 3:26 to go in the first half.

UConn went on a 6-0 run but Atkins scored to give the Irish the

halftime lead although the Huskies missed three shots in a closing