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Huskies hold on against BU, take on Indiana for 2K Classic Crown.

POSTED November 22, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


New York, New York: They are 5-0.

They have won games in any number of ways so far this year but the bottom line is, the streak is at five as the UConn Huskie men's basketball team looks to take home the 2K Classic Championship on Friday night in Madison Square Garden when they take on Indiana at 7 p.m.

UConn did just enough on Thursday night, a night their shots were not falling, to get by a stubborn and determined Boston College team by a 72-70 score when Ryan Boatright blocked a potential game winning shot with one second left.

"That was an old school BC/UConn game, a relived head coach Kevin Ollie said. "We'll take the win whether it's by a hundred or just one. On a night when our shots where not going, we had to play good defense and did just enough."

The Huskies shot just 39 percent, 21 percent from beyond the arch. 

UConn was once again led by Deandre Daniels who had a game high 23, 19 in the first half.

Daniels has been a different player the past three games after not scoring at all in the teams first two.

"Deandre has been hitting the gym," Ollie said. "He didn't start pointing fingers and say he wasn't getting the ball, he just kept working."

At times on Thursday night, Daniels demanded the ball and simple imposed his will on the offensive side of the floor.

In a game that featured 54 free throw attempts, UConn's up-tempo game had trouble getting going at times.

The two teams nearly shot the lights out from the charity stripe, a miss seemed so out of place.

Boston College made 24 of 25 while the Huskies converted on 25 of 29 but missed a couple of key ones in the last minute which kept the Eagles alive.

Despite going up by as many as 11 in the first half after Daniels nailed a three pointer to make it a 31-20 game, the Huskies struggled to put BU away.

A 14-6 run late in the first half brought the former Big East foes back to just 37-34 at the half.

After being held to just six points in the first half, Olivier Hanlan finished with 13 more in the second half and got help from Ryan Anderson who added 22, including a perfect 11 for 11 performance from the line.

UConn would extend the lead back to as high as nine again several times in the second half but the Eagles dug deep each time to stay within striking distance.

"We have kind of been a team that plays in spurts," Ollie said. "It's something we have to work on, we have to play a complete game."

Shabazz Napier added 20 points for Connecticut but found it hard to get rhythm at times with the constant stoppage of play.

"It was hard to get our transition game going at times tonight," Nappier said. "There were a lot of fouls called and they did a good job of getting to the line."

With five minutes left, the Huskies once again stretched the lead to nine but BC forward Alex Dragicevich nailed a trey and four straight free throws to help his team get back to within five before Hanlan took it to the basket for a bucket that made it a 64-61 game with 3:30 to play.

A Napier drive and a Boatright steal led to a four point sequence when Daniels converted and the lead was back up to 68-61 with 2:41 left.

Surely the Huskies were in control, right?

Not by a long shot.

A 5-0 run by the Eagles made it a one point game at 68-67 with 1:29 to play.

Napier and Boatright made three of their four foul shots but the one miss by Napier kept the door open for BC.

Hanlan lit up his cheering section with his last three with 7.9 left on the clock.

Boston College fouled Napier on the inbound but only one of two were converted, leaving the Eagles with 2.3 seconds left, down by just two at 72-70.

The Eagles got the ball inbound near half court to Lonnie Jackson but Boatright was there for the game saving block on the desperation three try that would have given BC the win.

"Survive and advance," Ollie said. "We didn't have our shots falling tonight but we gutted it out."

Still adds another digit to the column on the left side of their record.

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