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Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

UConn thunders past Syracuse, 88-80

January 17, 2006

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— Jim Calhoun wasn't around at the end of Connecticut's latest victory. He really only needed to see the first half.

Rashad Anderson scored 21, and Josh Boone had 18 points and 10 rebounds as No. 3 Connecticut ended No. 20 Syracuse's 12-game winning streak, 88-80, Monday night.

Syracuse (15-3 overall, 3-1 Big East) entered the Top 25 on Monday for the first time since late November. The Orange were no match for the Huskies (15-1, 3-1), who stormed to a big early lead and beat Syracuse for the sixth time in eight meetings.

It was the first game between Calhoun and Syracuse's Jim Boeheim since they were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September. Both have 718 wins, but Calhoun left the bench with about four minutes to go because he wasn't feeling well.

Connecticut entered the game leading the nation in blocked shots at 9.1 per game and put on a stunning defensive clinic in the opening half. The Huskies blocked 11 shots, allowed only one assist and forced 12 turnovers while limiting the Orange to 27 percent shooting (10-for-37) in taking a 45-25 halftime lead.

"Any time you play in the Big East, you don't want to give anybody a chance to come back," said Anderson, who hit four three-pointers and scored 15 points in the first half. "We wanted to put it to them."

They did, and early. UConn threatened to turn the game into a rout in the opening five minutes by scoring the first 12 points of the game, easily beating Syracuse's vaunted zone defense repeatedly down the floor behind the masterful passing of Marcus Williams, who had seven assists in the half.

"Sometimes, we don't start a game sharply offensively," associate head coach Tom Moore said while Calhoun was recovering from a spate of dehydration in the locker room. "It spoke to our focus before the game. We made the extra pass. We sort of probed the areas of the zone that we wanted to probe. We had quality trips the first seven or eight times down the floor."

Syracuse missed its first six shots, had three blocked and committed three turnovers to fall behind quickly.

"We just had a lack of patience in the first half," Boeheim said. "It caused us all kinds of problems."

The Orange rallied with an 11-5 run, and Gerry McNamara's left-handed layup moved them within 17-11 midway through the period as the Carrier Dome reverberated with thunderous - albeit short-lived -applause. Demetris Nichols led the Orange with a career-high 28 points, all but three in the second half.

No. 16 George Washington 88, Stony Brook 60

Washington - Omar Williams scored 13 points in 16 minutes, and George Washington shut down Stony Brook's offense for several minutes at the start of each half. The Colonials, 13-1 for the first time since the 1953-54 season, opened the game with a 13-0 run and limited Stony Brook to 40 percent shooting overall.

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