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Updated: Saturday, January 25, 2003 6:23 PM EST
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(8) Connecticut 74, Villanova 65
Villanova Wildcats
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Connecticut Huskies
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HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- In a matchup of teams loaded with young talent, freshman Rashad Anderson surprisingly stole the show.

Anderson scored a season-high 18 points and Ben Gordon added 17 as No. 8 Connecticut ended Villanova's unbeaten start in Big East Conference play with a 74-65 victory at the Hartford Civic Center.

Villanova (12-6, 5-1 Big East East) sports one of the top recruiting classes in the nation and started a pair of freshmen in Randy Foye and Jason Gardner. Another freshman, Allan Ray, comes off the bench and is the Wildcats' fourth-leading scorer.

Anderson was a lightly regarded recruit out of Florida and was considered the third-best freshman on the Huskies, behind Denham Brown and Hilton Armstrong. He entered the game averaging only 6.5 points but outshined Foye and Fraser, who combined for 17.

Connecticut (12-3, 3-1) bounced back from a pair of tough road losses, including Monday's heartbreaking 77-76 defeat at Miami on Darius Rice's 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The Huskies improved to 11-0 at home, 7-0 in Hartford.

Gordon overcame a poor shooting effort as he made just 3-of-11 shots but converted 11-of-12 at the line. Emeka Okafor collected 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Huskies won their fourth straight over the Wildcats.

UConn had control early, building a 13-4 lead on a layup by Okafor nearly six minutes into the game. Anderson scored five points in a 9-2 tear that gave the Huskies a 24-12 advantage.

Villanova got a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Derrick Snowden cut the halftime deficit to 38-34. Snowden and Foye each scored 11 points for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats got back-to-back 3-pointers by Gary Buchanan and Ray to forge a 44-44 tie before Tony Robertson's five straight points gave UConn the lead for good. Robertson's layup capped a 14-2 spurt for a 58-46 advantage.

Villanova was done in by frigid 30 percent (12-of-40) shooting in the second half, not unlike the cold temperatures outside the Civic Center. The Wildcats made 4-of-14 from beyond the arc in the second half and also shot poorly at the foul line, misfiring on half of their 16 attempts.

UConn had 20 assists on 25 baskets as Gordon handed out eight. Taliek Brown and Armstrong each had five.

Buchanan scored 14 points to lead Villanova. Fraser was outplayed in the middle by Okafor and had six points and five rebounds while Ray fouled out with six points on 2-of-8 shooting.

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