Dec. 29, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Scott Suggs had 15 points to lead all scorers, but it wasn't enough as Connecticut beat Washington 61-53 on Saturday in the final nonconference game of the regular season for both teams.
The west coast Huskies fell to 8-5 on the season and lost for the first time in five games.
Shabazz Napier scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Omar Calhoun led UConn (10-2) with 14 points. Ryan Boatright added 12 to help the Huskies to their fourth consecutive win.
UConn held Washington star C.J. Wilcox to just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Wilcox, who came in scoring more than 19 points per game, had scored 20 or more in three straight games and seven of the Huskies' last eight. He had scored in double figures in every game this season.
"It's hard to win games when you're not shooting the ball well," Wilcox said. "We have a tough conference schedule coming up, so we're just trying to learn what we can from this game."
Connecticut held Washington to season lows in points and field goal percentage at 29.7 percent (19 of 64). UW's shooting percentage was its lowest since shooting 29.2 percent on Nov. 24, 2008 vs. Kansas. Washington hit just 4 of 17 3-pointers.
UConn also outrebounded Washington 40-36. Connecticut had been outrebounded in 10 of their first 11 games by an average of over six rebounds per game.
"Give a lot of credit to UConn tonight," Husky Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I know down the stretch they probably turned the ball over more times than they would like, but they did a good job of sticking to what they were trying to do out there."
Connecticut stretched a five-point halftime lead by scoring the first seven points of the second half to go up 38-26. Its 15-2 run was capped by a 3-point shot by Napier from the corner.
UConn pushed that lead to 14 on an Calhoun layup with 15 minutes to play.
But Shawn Kemp Jr. had a layup, a dunk and a blocked shot to help close that gap to 48-44 and force a UConn timeout with 8:15 to play.
Washington stayed within five before jumpers by Boatright and Omar Calhoun stretched it back to nine with just over 3 minutes to play and put an exclamation point on the game with an ally-oop dunk from Omar Calhoun to 7-foot-1 center Enosch Wolf.
A layup by Wilcox cut the lead to six with 32 seconds left, but Calhoun hit two free throws on the other end to seal it.
Washington had jumped to an early 16-10 lead as UConn missed some early free throws, including four on one play.
Those were shot after Aziz N'Diaye picked up a technical foul for kicking Calhoun after fouling him on a drive to the basket.
Despite the missed free throws, UConn went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by a steal and double-clutch layup from Napier, to take a 21-16 lead.
But Connecticut missed all seven of its first-half attempts from 3-point range and Washington stayed in the game despite having both N'Diaye and Abdul Gaddy in foul trouble. Gaddy picked up his third foul with just under 4 minutes left in the half.
"A lot of them were cheap, ticky-tack fouls," Gaddy, the Huskies' captain said about his foul trouble. "Sometimes I was too aggressive, but I just have to be smarter with my fouls."
Washington trailed Connecticut 31-26 at halftime.
Washington fell to 1-2 in Connecticut this season. They beat Seton Hall and lost to Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in nearby Uncasville in November.
Washington dropped to 2-13 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone under coach Lorenzo Romar.
UConn visits Marquette for its Big East Opener on New Year's Day, while Washington opens the Pac-12 season at Washington State on Jan. 5.
"We're still confident," Gaddy said as the Huskies head into their Pac-12 schedule.
"We have just got to make sure we keep getting better and play with an edge. We have got three road games ahead and we just have to take them one game at a time."
The game was played in front of a crowd thinned by a storm that was expected to dump more than eight inches of snow on Hartford Saturday evening. There were almost 13,000 tickets sold, but just over 6,600 fans in the building, school officials said.