HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Villanova coach Jay Wright gift-wrapped game No. 1,000 for Connecticut counterpart Jim Calhoun.
Wright was whistled for a costly technical foul in the final minute as No. 20 Connecticut survived an 81-76 Big East Conference thriller against 25th-ranked Villanova.
"I shouldn't have put our team in that position," said Wright of the technical foul. "I just feel bad for my players because they played so hard. I take responsibility for it."
"I have mixed feelings about that (call)," Calhoun said. "I thought we were going to win regardless. ... I hate that to be the thing. ... Jay is active on the sidelines. I'm not crazy about it, but if it did occur and there was a bump involved, then it was out of the official's hands."
Rashad Anderson scored 21 points and Charlie Villanueva picked an opportune time for his only basket to help Calhoun improve to 693-307 overall, including 445-170 at Connecticut.
Villanueva, who spent 17 minutes on the bench in the first half because of foul trouble, hit a turnaround jumper from the right baseline with 31.5 seconds left to give the Huskies (13-5, 4-4 Big East) a 75-72 lead.
"It was big. When I got the ball all I heard was coach Calhoun yell 'Go Charlie!' That's the only voice I heard. It was big for us."
The technical foul was called after Villanueva ran past the Villanova bench and was bumped. Anderson converted both free throws.
After Villanova's Randy Foye missed a wild 3-pointer, Rudy Gay scored on a layup with 12 seconds left to put away the game.
Marcus Williams had 12 points and nine assists for the Huskies, who have won seven of their last eight against the Wildcats (12-5, 4-4). Williams, who hit just eight 3-pointers in his first 17 games, hit two 3-pointers that broke ties in the last six minutes.
"We got a lot of open looks and got through our offense," Williams said. "The way they played defense was loose. They were sitting back in the zone. It threw us off a little, but in the second half we caught on.
"I've been working a lot of overtime on that (3-point shooting). Before practice, after practice for times like this."
UConn won the game at the foul line, converting 30 free throws to Villanova's seven.
"You can't put a team on the foul line that many times," Wright said. "That made it tough for us. It took away some of our defensive intensity.
Calhoun, who has been concerned with the inconsistent play of his big men this season, watched Boone and Villanueva combine for just two field goals. But Hilton Armstrong came off the bench and had five points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes.
"Our big kids didn't appear the way I like them to appear," Calhoun said. "Hilton took it personally. He had game, he had heart. He was really special tonight. He deserves all the praise I can give him."
Mike Nardi hit 6-of-10 3-pointers and scored a season-high 20 points for Villanova, which on Monday returned to the rankings for the first time since 1997. Allan Ray scored 16 and Foye added 15 for the Wildcats, who shot just 11-of-32 from the arc after connecting on 32-of-56 in their last three games.
Connecticut held a 31-24 edge with 5:43 left in the first half after two foul shots by Anderson, but Villanova rattled off 14 straight points on four 3-pointers and a layup over the next three minutes to take the lead. Nardi hit two from the arc and Ray scored five points during the run.
The Huskies answered with a 3-pointer by Gay that sparked 7-2 spurt that cut the halftime deficit to 40-38.