In the past two games, the UConn Huskies men's basketball team has gotten off to slow starts. Despite a slow long trip to Newark, NJ due to the blizzard, the Huskies got off to a better start in this one.
But they almost blew it against the Seton Hall Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
After blowing a 13 point lead in the first half, a strong second half surge propelled UConn to a 78-67 win over the Pirates in front of 7,634 at the Prudential Center.
The Huskies improve to 16-6 (6-4 Big East) while the Pirates fall to 13-11 (2-9).
Shabazz Napier led the Huskies with 22 points, nine assists and six steals. Ryan Boatright added 20 points, a team-high five rebounds (shared with Omar Calhoun) and four steals while Calhoun had 10 points and five rebounds.
Aaron Cosby led all scorers in the game with 25 points for the Hall. Fuquan Edwin chipped in with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and five steals.
Kevin Johnson led the Pirates with six rebounds to go along with his nine points.
With the Huskies enjoying a 15-10 lead in the first half, they went on a 10-2 run to open up a 13 point lead. But Seton Hall responded with a 16-0 run and just like that UConn found themselves down three points.
The Pirates wouldn't relinquish the lead in the half as they went into the locker room up one at 35-34.
Napier would get the first basket of the half to put UConn back up front but Seton Hall responded with an 8-0 run to retake the lead. Not to be outdone, the Huskies battled back with a 6-0 run to cut it to one.
The Hall pushed lead up to four before UCon began to rally tying the game at 46 on a Niels Giffey old fashioned three point lead that was the start of a 6-0 run. Seton Hall would get no closer three points the rest of the way.
Much better start to the game for the Huskies than what we've seen recently. The problem is they need to maintain that kind of effort for 20 minutes in the first half just like they maintained it for 20 minutes in the second half. I'm sure head coach Kevin Ollie will make sure that happens.
This was a game they should have won considering Seton Hall's record. But going along, UConn can make some noise in the Big East and possibly affect other team's seedings for the Big East Tournament.
UConn is back in action on Wednesday night when they'll host the Syracuse Orange at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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photo credit: jim o'conner – usa today sports (no. 18 in gallery)