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UConn survives scare from New Hampshire

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Ryan Boatright scored 19 points and Connecticut avoided an upset Thursday, holding off New Hampshire 61-53 in a game that was close most of the way.

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Omar Calhoun added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies (6-1).

Ferg Myrick led all scorers with 20 points. Chris Pelcher added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-4)

Connecticut never trailed and was up by 11 with 1:42 left.

But Jordon Bronner cut the lead to six points on a 3-point shot off a Niels Giffey turnover with 1:22 left. A UConn shot-clock violation led to a layup by Pelcher that made it 57-53 with just 36 seconds left.

But New Hampshire was forced to foul, and Boatright and Calhoun made their free throws as UConn hung on for the win.

New Hampshire held UConn's leading scorer, Shabazz Napier, to just five points on just nine shots.

New Hampshire came into the game off consecutive losses to Bryant, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Holy Cross, and UConn, which was ranked No. 21 before losing to New Mexico last week, was heavily favored.

It looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Huskies early.

Connecticut had four steals in the first 4 minutes of the game and jumped out to an 11-3 lead. But the Huskies then missed their next eight shots and New Hampshire climbed back into the game at 13-11.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball and UConn led just 25-18 at halftime. It was the Huskies' lowest scoring half of the season and they missed all six of their 3-point attempts.

But New Hampshire was just 1 of 11 from behind the arc in the half and shot just 23 percent from the floor.

Myrick's first 3-pointer pulled the Wildcats to 18-16 extended a streak that has seen the team hit at least one 3-pointer in 618 consecutive games, dating back to January, 1991.

UConn stretched the lead to double digits a couple times in the second half, at 36-26 and again on Calhoun's 3-point play, which gave the their Huskies biggest lead with 1:42 left.

Connecticut was without its top reserve, R.J. Evans, who missed his second straight game with an injury to his collarbone. He's expected to remain on the bench through Tuesday's game in New York against North Carolina State.

The win gives the Huskies a 3-0 record against the America East this season. The Huskies beat Stony Brook and Vermont earlier this month.

UConn outrebounded New Hampshire 43-40, the first time the Huskies have won the battle on the glass this season. Connecticut came in averaging just over 30 rebounds per game compared to 38 for their opponents.

This is an old New England rivalry, thoroughly dominated by UConn, which came into the game with a 90-25 series advantage.

The Wildcats haven't beaten UConn since January, 1983, and haven't won a road game against the Huskies since January, 1974.

The game was the Huskies' first this year in Hartford. They haven't lost their XL Center opener since being beaten by Virginia here in 1987 and are now 25-0 since.

UConn takes a step up in competition next week, heading to New York to play No. 18 North Carolina State in New York as part of the Jimmy V Classic.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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