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Updated: Saturday, January 15, 2005 7:41 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(11) Connecticut 78, Rutgers 64

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Josh Boone and Charlie Villanueva made sure Rutgers' struggles against Connecticut continued.

Boone had 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks and Villanueva added 14, 14 and six as No. 11 Connecticut bounced back from a resounding road loss to post a 78-64 victory over Rutgers in a Big East Conference matchup.

"I consider this to be a very good win," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "I thought we were a little better defensively. ... I'm going home and am going to be very pleased because any win in this league - the league is tough."

With just one win in 11 meetings with the Huskies since joining the Big East, the Scarlet Knights got off to a slow start before climbing within 19-13 with 14 minutes to go in the first half.

But Connecticut (10-3, 2-1 Big East) used a 14-2 run, sparked by Denham Brown's five points, to open an 18-point lead and cruise to a 46-35 halftime advantage.

Boone, Villanueva and forward Rudy Gay each scored in double figures in the first half.

Senior guard Ricky Shields scored five points during a 7-2 burst to cut Rutgers' deficit to 48-42 with 17 minutes remaining in the second half before Connecticut went on a 16-6 spurt to gain control, 64-48, with 11:45 to play.

Boone recorded his ninth double-double of the season and Villanueva notched his third straight for the Huskies, who dropped a 77-65 decision to No. 25 Oklahoma on Monday.

"This was a really important game for us," Villanueva said. "The Oklahoma game was real tough on us. We have been practicing real hard and real well. We carried what we did in practice to this game."

Gay had 14 points and eight rebounds and Marcus Williams chipped in eight and eight assists for Connecticut, which held a 27-8 advantage in second-chance points.

"The player I thought did an outstanding job in there was Rudy Gay," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "He made it hard for us to go in and rebound the basketball. We were trying to fight off people like Boone and Villanueva, then all of a sudden, there's Gay flying in there."

Marquis Webb scored a season-high 16 points and Quincy Douby added 13 for Rutgers (6-7, 0-3), which lost its fourth straight game.


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