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Saturday, January 14, 2012
Rapid Reaction: UConn 67, Notre Dame 53

By Matt Fortuna


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A quick look at Connecticut's 67-53 victory Saturday over Notre Dame at the Joyce Center.

Overview: Faced with the last-minute news that guard Ryan Boatright would be benched as the NCAA again investigates his eligibility, UConn rebounded from a one-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Irish 43-28 in the second half. UConn's win snapped Notre Dame's 29-game home winning streak. The Irish did themselves no favors by shooting just 32 percent from the floor. The Huskies' front-line players proved too much for Notre Dame, and UConn outrebounded the Irish by a 42-30 margin.

Star(s) of the game: Alex Oriakhi, Andre Drummond and Roscoe Smith all deserve credit for dominating up front and providing the Huskies with plenty of extra chances when their guards had trouble connecting. Jeremy Lamb scored just six points on 3-for-11 shooting, but UConn's big trio up front combined for 32 points and eight offensive boards. Also worth noting is the team-high 16 points from Shabazz Napier, who was held scoreless earlier in the week against West Virginia.

Stat of the game: Five of Notre Dame's field goals in the first half came from beyond the 3-point arc, helping the Irish take a one-point lead into the break. But they converted just 1-of-15 3-point attempts in the second half, which combined with UConn's height advantage created several scoring droughts that were too much to overcome.

What's next: UConn returns to Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday to take on Cincinnati before a nonconference date next Saturday at Tennessee. The Huskies then host Notre Dame at the XL Center at the end of the month. For the Irish, things won't get much easier: They face a quick turnaround Monday at improved Rutgers before returning home next Saturday to take on currently undefeated and top-ranked Syracuse.