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Napier sparks UConn men to victory

Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published December 22. 2013 6:00PM   Updated December 22. 2013 6:14PM

Seattle — Shabazz Napier scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and grabbed six rebounds to lead No. 10 UConn to an 82-70 victory over Washington on Sunday.

Fellow guard Ryan Boatwright had 16 points and five rebounds and Lasan Kromah scored 14 points for UConn (10-1), which fell into a double-digit hole early in its first true road game of the season but controlled the game in the second half.

C.J. Wilcox led Washington (6-5) with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting and had four assists and four fouls. Darin Johnson had 13 points for Washington and Mike Anderson, who is from Hartford, Conn., added 10 points.

Connecticut was coming off its first loss of the season, 53-51 to Stanford at home Wednesday. In that game UConn was 5 of 31 from the field and 0 for 12 on 3-pointers in the second half. The early going against Washington wasn’t much better as Connecticut missed its first six shots from behind the arc as UW built a double-digit lead.

Wilcox hit two straight 3-pointers to give UW a 31-17 lead with 7 minutes to go in the first half, but those shots seemed to wake up the visiting Huskies.

UConn answered with a 15-2 run, including a stretch of 10 straight points. Connecticut took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when DeAndre Daniel’s layup made it 39-37 with 1:46 left in the first half, and UConn led 43-39 at halftime.

Connecticut scored the first six points of the second half to push the lead to 10 points, and then used a nine-point run to pull away to 62-48 with 11 minutes to play. Washington wasn’t able to make a run to get back into the game.

Connecticut’s long-range shooting improved after the dismal start, as UConn finished 4 of 12 behind the arc and 28 of 51 (54.9 percent) overall from the field.

UConn changed its starters after going with the same lineup for the first 10 games of the season. Amida Brimah started at center, replacing Phillip Nolan. Brimah dunked on the game’s first possession and had four points and three rebounds.

One of the largest cheers from the home crowd came 6½ minutes into the game, when junior forward Desmond Simmons checked in. It was Simmons’ first appearance since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Nov. 7. Simmons hit the first 3-pointer of the game to put UW up 17-10 but got into foul trouble and finished with five points.

 

 

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