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01/14/2012 5:53 PM EST
No. 17 UConn beats Notre Dame 67-53
CONNECTICUT 67, NOTRE DAME 53

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Connecticut was able to come together
for a big win even in the midst of more off-the-court
controversy.



The 17th-ranked Huskies had a big second half Saturday and beat
Notre Dame 67-53, snapping the Fighting Irish's 29-game home
winning streak behind the 16 points of Shabazz Napier and the 10
points and 13 rebounds of freshman Andre Drummond



On Friday night, Connecticut decided freshman guard Ryan
Boatright would be held out by the school while the NCAA
investigates eligibility matters that predate his enrollment at
the school.



"I called him out of the meal and I told him," said Huskies
coach Jim Calhoun, who missed the first three Big East games
this season over an NCAA suspension. "He was in my arms and
talking about the 300 people who were coming to the game to
watch him play. But I will tell you that nothing is going to
injure or hurt Ryan Boatright. I have nothing to say about it. I
feel about it, but I have nothing to say."



The team dedicated the game to Boatright, who is from nearby
Aurora, Ill., according to teammates Roscoe Smith and Shabazz
Napier.



Boatright, a speedy 6-foot guard who has averaged more than 10
points and three assists in 10 games, was suspended for the
first six games of the season for an infraction that involved
accepting a plane ticket last year while he was playing AAU
basketball.



The school, in a statement, said the latest development "arises
from additional information provided by the NCAA that pertains
to conditions and events that predate the university's
relationship with Boatright."



Calhoun emphasized that the Boatright controversy was beyond the
control of his team and they would deal with it as a team.



"We were energized, tonight," said Calhoun, who was suspended
for failure to create an atmosphere of compliance within his
program. `'We had a pretty emotional talk. But it is about us.
It is not about anyone but us and we can't control the world but
we can control what we do. Tonight we stayed with things and the
biggest thing in life is just staying with things."



Alex Oriakhi added 12 points for the Huskies (14-3, 4-2 Big
East).



Eric Atkins scored 20 points for Notre Dame (11-7, 3-2), who led
25-24 at halftime as Atkins went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.



Calhoun said his team talked about defending the 3-pointer
better at halftime.



"We got over those and we made sure the third guy in line
rotated," he said. "We did a good job of not letting that man be
free. So the third guy in line got in there. He just can't come
out late. We talked a little bit about that at halftime and our
guys seemed to respond really well."



The Huskies shot 56 percent in the second half, while the Irish
closed the game by making 12 of 36 shots.



Connecticut used an 18-8 run over the first 10 minutes of the
second half to take a 42-33 lead. The Irish scored five straight
points, but UConn answered with a 12-2 run that made it 54-40
with 3:41 left.



The Huskies outrebounded Notre Dame 43-33 - including getting 14
offensive rebounds that were converted into 16 points - and made
15 free throws compared to five for the Irish.



Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said UConn's defense was the key.



"It was hard for us to anything offensively against their
defense," he said. "First half, we had some open stuff - some
layups, free throws right before half. Second half, we got looks
but they were kind of hurried and they were hurried because of
Connecticut's length. Their size beat us up on the backboard at
times. They were hard to keep off the board. We were trying. We
kept fighting. Not today."



Brey was philosophical about the end of the streak.



"It was a pretty good run," he said. "Amazing when you think
about it. I'm really proud of our overall body of work at home.
So, you get a chance to start another streak."



Atkins had 13 points in the first half when both teams shot
below 40 percent. But Notre Dame made five 3-pointers while
Connecticut didn't make any shots from behind the arc.



Notre Dame led by five points with 3:26 to go in the first half.
UConn went on a 6-0 run but Atkins scored to give the Irish the
halftime lead although the Huskies missed three shots in a
closing flurry.

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