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Notre Dame Sends UConn Men to Third Straight  Loss

New Nike Hyper Elite Platinum uniforms. Same old stagnant UConn Huskies men’s basketball offense.

Ryan Boatright #11 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts to a call in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 29, 2012 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Connecticut Huskies 50-48.After losing two straight games, the Huskies were hoping the return of Ryan Boatright would give them a lift on both ends of the court. While he was able to do just that, other things in the game didn’t bounce UConn’s way.

A 13-0 run by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to start the second half helped them a 50-48 win over the Huskies in front of a sold-out XL Center in Hartford, CT on Sunday afternoon.

UConn had a few chances to take the lead or tie this one up late.

Trailing by three at 45-42 after a Boatright layup with 1:02 to go, Roscoe Smith stole the ball and got it to Shabazz Napier, who missed the three. Andre Drummond committed a foul and Pat Cannaughton hit both free throws to push their lead back to five.

After a Drummond dunk cut it back to three, the Huskies forced the Irish into a five second call. But Napier missed the three again and the Huskies had to foul sending Jerian Grant to the line where he hit both free throws to make a five-point advantage. Jeremy Lamb cut the Irish lead to two points with a three pointer with eight seconds left.

Lamb sent Grant to the line where he hit the first but missed the second free throw. Grant’s high basketball IQ came into play as he fouled Lamb instead of letting him get a good look at the three. Lamb made the first free throw but missed the second. He got his own rebound but his last ditch effort to tie the game bounced off the rim giving the Irish the win.

Lamb led all scorers in the game with 16 points and added five rebounds. Drummond added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while blocking four shots.

Eric Atkins paced the Irish with 13 points while Grant had 11 points. Scott Martin chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds. Luke Harangody Scott Cooley also had seven rebounds while scoring eight points.

Alex Oriakhi got the Huskies on the board quickly out of the gate but then they went cold from the floor while the Irish took a 5-2 lead. The Huskies battled back to take a 6-5 lead before Notre Dame went on a 9-4 run to open up a four point lead at 14-10.

Once again, UConn came back as they scored six straight points to take a two point lead. Connaughton gave the Irish the lead with a three and five possessions the teams would exchange the lead with one nother.  After a Notre Dame turnover with 28 seconds to go in the half, Boatright’s floater with one second left gave UConn a 24-21 halftime advantage.

But it was that 13-0 run to start the second half that buoyed the Irish to the win. It took UConn 7:10 to score in the second half and that came on a Drummond jumper.

When Boatright was out the UConn offense was terrible. They really weren’t any better with him.

The Irish played a zone for most of the game and as we know, UConn has trouble with them. They weren’t moving the ball at all, players were standing around and they couldn’t penetrate the zone at all. That tough Notre Dame defense forced the Huskies into some bad shots. And that all figured into the Irish’s 13-0 run to start the second half.

When the Huskies take the court next on Wednesday night, I’m pretty sure they’ll be unranked. And of course that game will come against a nationally-ranked Georgetown Hoyas squad at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

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Notes and musings:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ UConn Huskies 1.29.12 box score

Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Jim Calhoun and Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. Their also quotes from a few of the UConn players as well.

The starting five for the Huskies was Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, DeAndre Daniels, Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond.

After shooting 50% in the first half, UConn finished the game shooting 40.4% (19-47). The Irish shot 36.2% (17-47).

The Huskies had nine assists on their 19 made baskets.

UConn was 3-of-13 (23.1%) from beyond the arc while Notre Dame was 7-of-22 (31.8%).

The Huskies were 7-of-10 (70%) from the free throw line. The Irish were just as good at 9-of-12 (75%).

Notre Dame outrebounded UConn 33-29.

The Huskies outscored the Irish 26-10 in the paint while Notre Dame outscored UConn 9-2 on the fast break.

Notre Dame had nine second chance points to five for UConn.

The Huskies had eight points off of ten Irish turnovers. Notre Dame had 10 points off of nine turnovers.

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