HARTFORD, Conn. - University of Connecticut junior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help lead the Huskies' men's basksetball team to a 61-53 win over Washington on Saturday night before an annoucned crowd of 12,720 on a snowy night at the XL Center. A loyal crowd of over 6,000 Husky fans were in attendance.
UConn improves to 10-2 on the season and Washington is 8-5. The game was the final non-conference tilt for either team.
Freshman guard Omar Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led UConn with 14 points and sophomore Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) added 12 to help the Huskies to their fourth consecutive win.
Scott Suggs had 15 to lead Washington, which lost for the first time in five games.
UConn's win came hours after coach Kevin Ollie agreed to a new five and a half contract worth just under $7 million. Ollie had been coaching under a one-season deal that he signed after taking over from Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun in September. Ollie received a standing ovation as he walked onto the court and the student section chanted his name.
UConn held Washington star C.J. Wilcox to just five points on two-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.
Connecticut held Washington to season lows in points and field goal percentage at 29.7 percent (19 of 64). Washington hit just four 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.
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 a Calhoun layup with 15 minutes to play.
Washington's 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 Calhoun stretched it back to nine with just over three minutes to play. UConn put an exclamation point on the game with an ally-oop dunk from Calhoun to junoir center Enosch Wolf (Goettingen, Germany).
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. Connecticut missed all seven of its first-half attempts from three-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 four minutes left in the half. Washington trailed Connecticut 31-26 at halftime.
UConn opens BIG EAST play on Tuesday when it travels to Marquette for a 8:00 p.m. Eastern time game on ESPNU and the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.