No. 17 UConn 64, West Virginia 57

No. 17 UConn 64, West Virginia 57

Published Jan. 10, 2012 4:00 a.m. ET

Connecticut needed a spark Monday night, and the Huskies got one from their coach.

UConn responded to a technical on Jim Calhoun by going on a 17-3 run, overcoming a 10-point second-half deficit to beat West Virginia 64-57.

Jeremy Lamb had 25 points and eight rebounds and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 11 boards for UConn (13-3, 3-2 Big East), which snapped a two-game losing streak.

''It was just a misunderstanding,'' Calhoun deadpanned. ''When that did happen, I told (my players), `If you aren't going to fight, they may throw me out of here, but I'm going to fight.'''


A jumper by West Virginia's Deniz Kilichli on the possession following the technical put the Mountaineers up 46-36 with just over 11 minutes left.

But an ally-oop dunk by Lamb brought the crowd into the game. A steal and a dunk by Ryan Boatright tied the score at 48 and Lamb's 3-pointer put the Huskies ahead with just over 5 minutes left.

His jumper with 2 1/2 minutes left put the Huskies up for good, 57-55.

''We really wanted to show that we've got fight,'' Lamb said. ''We really wanted to show that we can be the team that people think we can.''

Lamb had 17 points after intermission. He had just eight points in UConn's loss to Rutgers, ending a streak of 25 consecutive games in double figures.

Connecticut, which lost at Seton Hall and Rutgers last week, dropped nine spots in the Top 25 on Monday. The Huskies have not lost three straight since March 2010.

Kevin Jones, the Big East's leading scorer and rebounder, had 22 points for West Virginia (12-5, 3-2), which missed all 10 of its 3-point attempts in the second half after hitting six of 14 before the break.

Jones, who was being guarded much of the time by Drummond, was able to step outside on UConn's big men. He hit three of his first five shots from 3-point range, but didn't get another.

''That's not our strength and that's not what we look to win games,'' said Jones. ''So when we started relying on that, that's when we started playing bad.''

But the loss also had a lot to do with the play of Drummond. His driving dunk from along the left baseline made it 53-49 and forced West Virginia coach Bob Huggins to call a timeout.

The Huskies led 58-57 when Drummond rebounded a miss by Lamb. His short jumper made it a three-point game with 1:18 left.

UConn's freshman center hit nine of his 11 shots.

''We had fire in our eyes,'' he said. ''We were like, `We're not losing this game no matter what. We're going to go out there and get this game.'''

Connecticut scored the first six points of the second half to erase a five-point deficit, but Jones responded with two putback baskets that sparked a 13-2 West Virginia run that gave it a 10-point lead.

Darryl ''Truck'' Bryant, who came in averaging more than 18 points a game, hit just two of his 13 shots for West Virginia, which shot 32 percent from the floor.

UConn shot 55 percent, but was outrebounded 38-32 - as the Mountaineers grabbed 20 offensive boards.

Jones, who came into the game averaging almost 20 points and 12 rebounds per game, scored eight straight points, on two 3s and a layup, to give the Mountaineers a 21-16 lead.

Connecticut turned the ball over nine times in the first half and had no offensive rebounds, while the Mountaineers had eight offensive boards and 15 points off those UConn turnovers in building a 33-28 halftime lead.

Boatright, UConn's freshman point guard, had committed to West Virginia, but changed his mind after the Mountaineers landed point guard Jabarie Hinds - the team's asissts leader who had eight points. Boatright had seven points, four rebounds and four assists for UConn.

''It feels way better to know that we got the win than me winning the battle over Hinds,'' Boatright said. ''It was never about that.''

Calhoun was coaching his first home game since serving a three-game suspension for NCAA recruiting violations, and coming off the bad trip to New Jersey that included the 67-60 loss to Rutgers on Saturday after a 75-63 setback at Seton Hall.

''Coming off two losses, you're really not that sure of yourself, you really don't know how good your team is,'' Lamb said. ''This was a huge win for us.''

UConn improved to 10-0 at home this season.