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 yesterday in South Bend, Ind., and beat Notre Dame, 67-53, snapping the Fighting Irish’s 29-game home winning streak behind 16 points from Shabazz Napier and 10 points and 13 rebounds from freshman Andre Drummond.
On Friday night, UConn decided freshman guard Ryan Boatright would be held out by the school while the NCAA investigates eligibility matters that predate his enrollment.
“I called him out of the meal and I told him,’’ said Huskies coach Jim Calhoun, who missed the first three Big East games because of 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.’’
According to teammates Roscoe Smith and Napier, the team dedicated the game to Boatright, who is from nearby Aurora, Ill.
Calhoun was suspended for failure to create an atmosphere of compliance within his program.
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), which led, 25-24, at halftime as Atkins went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
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 5 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.
“It was hard for us to do anything offensively against their defense,’’ Notre Dame coach Mike Brey 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.’’
Syracuse 78, Providence 55 - Scoop Jardine had 10 points and nine assists and the top-ranked Orange (19-0, 6-0 Big East) beat the undermanned Friars (12-7, 1-5) in Syracuse.
BU 61, Stony Brook 55 - Darryl Partin scored 18 points and the Terriers topped the Seawolves (9-7, 4-1 American East) in Case Gym.
BU (7-11, 3-1) opened on a 14-2 run and never trailed in snapping Stony Brook’s six-game win streak.
D.J. Irving finished with 11 points for BU.
UNH 72, Vermont 65 - In Durham, N.H., Patrick Konan scored 19 points in only 22 minutes off the bench to help the Wildcats (6-9, 1-3 AE) hold off the Catamounts (9-10, 3-2) and break a three-game losing streak.
Northeastern 64, William & Mary 50 - Joel Smith scored a game-high 14 points and freshman Quincy Ford tallied his first career double-double as the Huskies earned their third consecutive win by defeating the Tribe (4-14, 2-4 CAA) in Matthews Arena.
Northeastern (8-8, 4-2) closed the first half on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 27 going into halftime. They then grabbed control of the game with a 14-4 run to open the second half and never looked back.
Ford finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies.
Yale 68, Brown 64 - In the Ivy opener for both teams, Austin Morgan hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points in a Bulldogs (11-4) home win over the Bears (5-12).
Duquesne 78, URI 71 - Sean Johnson and T.J. McConnell led five Duquesne scorers in double figures with 16 points each and the Dukes (11-7, 2-2 Atlantic 10) defeated the host Rams (3-15, 0-3), who got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Jonathan Holton.
American 67, Holy Cross 54 - Devin Brown scored 14 points for the visiting Crusaders (8-9, 2-1 Patriot), but the Eagles (11-7, 2-1) pulled away.
Mount St. Mary’s 64, Bryant 60 - In Emmitsburg, Md., the Mountaineers (4-13, 2-4 NEC) got 16 points from Julian Norfleet as Mount St. Mary’s overcame the Bulldogs (2-15, 1-5).
St. Francis (Pa.) 74, Quinnipiac 71. - Ike Azotam led all scorers with 28 points, but the visiting Bobcats (9-8, 2-4 NEC) fell to the Red Flash (4-13, 3-3).
Dartmouth 83, Longwood 67 - John Golden scored a season-high 17 points to lead the visiting Big Green (4-13) over the Lancers (6-12).
Bentley 64, St. Rose 60 - Jaspar Grassa scored a game-high 17 points, Sam Leclerc had 11 of his 14 points in the final four minutes, and the Falcons (12-3, 8-3 NE-10) beat the Golden Knights (2-13, 2-9).
Williams 71, Conn. College 50 - In New London, Conn., James Klemm put up 19 points and eight rebounds as the 14th-ranked Ephs (13-3, 2-2 NESCAC) beat the Camels (5-10, 0-3)
Bates 80, Bowdoin 61 - The Bobcats (8-6, 2-2 NESCAC) hit 12 3-pointers and got 22 points from Mark Brust, beating the Polar Bears (9-4, 1-2) in Lewiston, Maine.
MIT 72, Babson 63 - The No. 3 Engineers (16-0, 4-0 NEWMAC) got a game-high 20 points from Mitchell Kates, dropping the host Beavers (8-8, 1-3). The 16-game win streak broke the program record for consecutive wins set by the 1961-62 squad, some of whom were in attendance.
Keene St. 92, R.I. College 91 - Ryan Martin hit 10 of 12 shots, registering a game-best 28 points, and stole the ball leading to a winning layup by Ollie Hunter with three seconds left as the host Owls (10-4, 4-1 Little East) nipped the No. 20-ranked Anchormen (12-2, 3-2).