MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Connecticut's Rashad Anderson didn't
seem to mind watching the start of a game from the bench for the
first time this season.
Anderson scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to lead the Huskies (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) to a 68-58 victory over slumping West
Virginia on Tuesday night.
Anderson was benched by UConn coach Jim Calhoun despite scoring
a team-high 19 points in a loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Calhoun said Denham Brown earned the starting nod by playing
harder than Anderson in subsequent practices.
"I winked at [Anderson] before the game and said, 'Hey, you may
not even play today,' " Calhoun joked.
Anderson responded by going 6-of-9 from the field -- including
four 3-pointers -- and made all six free throws in 27 minutes.
"I always come out ready to play," Anderson said. "This game
wasn't any different than the other games. Charlie [Villanueva] came to me before the game and said, 'Just play better. Don't worry about it."
Connecticut (12-4, 4-2 Big East) dominated inside, holding a
47-27 advantage against the Big East's worst rebounding team, and
watched West Virginia miss long shot after long shot.
But the Huskies were sloppy on offense and shot just 39 percent
from the field in the second half to enable the Mountaineers to
stay close until late before losing their fifth straight.
"Tonight we really got on their shooters," Calhoun said. "The
bottom line is for us to play defense like that and hold a team
that low in scoring."
Villanueva added 16 points and Marcus Williams had 12 for
"We are just not shooting well," Mountaineers coach John
Beilein said. "It's a broken record, but we'll stay with it."
West Virginia trimmed an 11-point deficit to 33-28 early in the
second half after a three-point play by Sally.
Anderson had four points during an 8-0 run that put the Huskies
ahead 43-30 midway through the period.
West Virginia stayed with the long ball despite going just
8-of-33 on 3-pointers and shooting 29 percent overall. Kevin
Pittsnogle hit two 3s a minute apart to pull the Mountaineers
within 45-39 with 8:19 remaining.
But every time West Virginia threatened, it seemed Anderson,
Villanueva and Williams were there to answer. They combined for
Connecticut's final 25 points.
Anderson hit two 3-pointers a minute apart for a 55-46 lead with
"I was in a rhythm tonight," Anderson said. "My teammates
were looking for me out there, and somebody needed to step up at
Connecticut scored all of its points on free throws the rest of
the way, going 13-of-16 from the line.
"This was a crazy game," Villanueva said. "But we kept our
composure and knocked down some free throws."
Connecticut, making its first appearance in Morgantown since
1999, beat the Mountaineers for the fifth straight time.
Villanueva scored half of Connecticut's first 14 points, either
on layins or free throws. The Huskies didn't hit their first
outside shot until midway through the first half and led 31-22 at
West Virginia's 22 first-half points were its second-lowest of
the season. The Mountaineers, who started the season 10-0, were
held under 70 points for the sixth straight game.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.