Dec. 28, 2004
HARTFORD, CT - Sophomore center Josh Boone recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and ten rebounds to help #11 Connecticut secure a 73-55 win over Sacred Heart University at the Hartford Civic Center Tuesday night. The Huskies had to overcome a three-point halftime deficit to up their record to 7-1 on the season.
Sacred Heart, 1-8, jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on baskets by Mike Queenan and Joey Henley before the Huskies scored 12 straight points to take a 12-4 lead four minutes into the game. UConn held a 24-16 lead after a layup by sophomore Charlie Villanueva with 8:27 to go in the first half. The Pioneers then ripped of the next ten points to take a 26-24 lead with 5:21 left. Freshman Luke Granato (Rocky Hill, CT) canned a pair of three-pointers during the run.
A pair of free throws by Rashad Anderson for UConn tied the game at 26-26 with just under five minutes to play in the period. A steal and dunk by sophomore Jarrid Frye for the Pioneers gave SHU a 28-26 lead. A three by Frye with 2:21 left gave the Pioneers a 33-29 edge. Two more free throws by Anderson and a dunk by Boone with 1:17 left tied the score at 33. Granato drained another three with :45 left to send SHU into the intermission with a surprising 36-33 lead.
Granato, who finished the game with a career-high 19 points, canned four threes in the period as part of his 14 points. Sacred Heart shot 56 percent in the half, while holding the Huskies to 40 percent shooting.
UConn turned up the defensive pressure after the half and held the Pioneers to just one point, Kibwe Trim free throw, for nearly seven minutes. By the time Joey Henley hit the first Pioneer field goal of the half with 13:11 to play, the Huskies had opened up a 45-39 lead.
The Pioneers weren't quite ready to roll over and die, however. After the Henley bucket, Brice Brooks stole the ball from Marcus Williams and Queenan deposited a three in the basket to cut the UConn lead to 45-42. A missed dunk by Husky freshman guard Rudy Gay resulted in a Trim layup at the other end and the Pioneers were within one with 11:27 to go in the game. A Villanueva dunk at the other end put the Huskies back up by three, and a Denham Brown free throw with 10:04 left gave UConn a 48-44.
A Granato jumper with 8:28 to play had SHU within five at 52-47. A second-chance basket by Boone with 8:04 to go gave Connecticut a seven-point bulge and the Pioneers would get no closer the rest of the way.
"I was very proud of the way we played tonight," said SHU head coach Dave Bike. "Especially after the way we got waxed at Washington, I was pleased that we executed tonight and put ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win the game. This is the fourth time we've played UConn and the first time we ever could say we had a chance to win."
"I just think they (UConn) had a little more legs than we do," Bike continued. "We did a good job of slowing the game down and limiting their chances to run, but they are a very talented team and eventually they just wore us down. Who knows? Maybe if we could have kept our legs a little longer we could have given ourselves a chance even later in the game."
In addition to the big game by Boone, the Huskies got 17 points from Villanueva and 11 each from Gay and Anderson. The biggest disparity in the game came at the free throw line, where the Huskies took 29 to just six for the Pioneers.