College basketball: No. 18 UConn holds off Maryland, 78-77

Shabazz Napier scored 18 points, Niels Giffey had 13, and No. 18 Connecticut survived Maryland’s second-half surge in a 78-77 victory Friday night in New York.

The Huskies nearly blew all of a 17-point lead over the final minutes at Barclays Center in the season opener for both teams.

Maryland’s Nick Faust scored 5 straight points on a layup and 3-pointer to bring the Terps within 2 with 2:28 left.


Tyler Olander drilled a 3-pointer for UConn with two minutes left to make it 78-73. Napier was whistled for his fifth foul and Dez Wells made two free throws to cut it to 78-75.
Wells hit a jumper out of a Maryland timeout and it was a 1-point game.

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Faust led the Terps with 17 points. Wells, Evan Smotrycz, and Jake Layman all scored 13 points.

With former coach Jim Calhoun in attendance, UConn won the opener under second-year coach Kevin Ollie. The Huskies went 20-10 last season.

Kansas 80, Louisiana-Monroe 63— Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points in his highly anticipated debut, leading the No. 5 Jayhawks to a sluggish victory over the Warhawks in Lawrence, Kan.

While Wiggins disappeared at times, the highly touted freshman dazzled at others.


‘‘He did some good things,’’ Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. ‘‘I think he can be more aggressive, but I think all the guys can be more aggressive.’

Kentucky 89, UNC-Asheville 57 — Julius Randle scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half to lead five Kentucky players in double figures and help the top-ranked Wildcats’ highly touted freshman class debut successfully with a season-opening rout of the Bulldogs in Lexington, Ky.

Michigan St. 98, McNeese St. 56 — Gary Harris scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half and finished with a career-high 10 rebounds, helping the No. 2 Spartans build a big lead at halftime in a rout of the visiting Cowboys.

Duke 111, Davidson 77 — Jabari Parker scored 22 points in his debut and the No. 4 Blue Devils pounded the Wildcats in their opener in Durham, N.C.

Michigan 69, UMass-Lowell 42 — Glenn Robinson III scored 15 points and the No. 7 Wolverines pulled away in the second half to beat the River Hawks, newcomers to Division 1, in Ann Arbor, Mich.


Oklahoma State 117, MVSU 62 — Le’Bryan Nash had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead five scorers in double figures as the No. 8 Cowboys opened their season with a rout at Stillwater, Okla.

Syracuse 82, Cornell 60 — Trevor Cooney had seven 3-pointers and 27 points, both career highs, and the No. 8 Orange beat the Big Red in Syracuse, N.Y.

Florida 77, North Florida 69 — Casey Prather scored a career-high 28 points, Michael Frazier II added 19, and the No. 10 host Gators opened the season with a victory over the Osprey.

Rhode Island 97, Maine 77 — Ifeanyi Onyekaba scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds in only 20 minutes of action as the host Rams overwhelmed the Black Bears.


Tennessee 67, Middle Tennessee 57 — Isabelle Harrison scored 13 points as the fourth-ranked Lady Vols rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat the Blue Raiders in Murfressboro, Tenn.

Kentucky 75, Marist 61 — Kastine Evans scored 15 points and the No. 7 Wildcats used a balanced offense to beat the Red Foxes in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Maryland 78, South Florida 70 — Laurin Mincy scored 15 points and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 as the No. 8 Terps beat the Bulls in Tampa.

Western Michigan 66, UMass 58 — Miracle Woods had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Michelle O’Brien had 19 points to lift the visiting Broncos over the Minutewomen.