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Updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 11:11 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(11) Connecticut 73, Sacred Heart 55

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Josh Boone helped No. 11 Connecticut avoid an embarrassing upset.

Boone scored 16 of his career high-tying 20 points in the second half as the Huskies rallied to defeat lowly Sacred Heart, 73-55.

Charlie Villanueva added 17 points for UConn (7-1), who trailed the Pioneers at the half, 36-33.

"Coach (Jim Calhoun) was mad because Sacred Heart came at us pretty well," Villanueva said. "We let them dictate the game in the first half by holding the ball."

"If there were 100 rebounds in the game they probably would have gotten 70 or 80 of them, so we tried to slow it down a little bit and manage the clock more than we ever did," Pioneers coach Dave Bike said. "For a team that has not played that way in a while, I think it was good that we did that."

UConn held just a 52-47 edge after a jumper by Pioneers freshman Luke Granato with 8:28 remaining, but Boone - who also grabbed 10 rebounds - countered with a follow shot and a pair of free throws to trigger a 14-0 run.

Boone and Villanueva each scored five points during the burst, which ended on a layup by Villanueva that made it 66-47 with 3:16 to play.

"We try to get the ball to each other because we know that once one of us gets the ball, typically there's going to be a double-team on us, so the other one of us is going to be open," Boone said of Villanueva.

The big men combined to shoot 79 percent (15-of-19), while the rest of the team connected on just 29 percent (10-of-34).

"We went to our two big kids and got 15 out of 19," Calhoun said. "Rashad (Anderson), I think, took one shot. We just told the guys, 'Get the ball inside.' And we did a good job with that."

The Huskies have won 56 straight games against intrastate opponents.

UConn struggled mightily from the arc, making just 4-of-16 attempts. Anderson, who scored 11 points, sank just 2-of-10.

Granato scored 19 points to pace Sacred Heart (1-8), which has lost seven straight games.

The Pioneers shot 56 percent (15-of-27) in the opening 20 minutes but just 30 percent (7-of-23) after the break.

Though UConn made just 19-of-29 free throws, Sacred Heart sank just 3-of-6.


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