STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut senior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) scored a game-high 18 points and had seven assists to lead UConn to a 67-60 win over UCF in front of a soldout crowd at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday. The Huskies improved to 10-7 on the year and 3-2 in American Athletic play this season with the win, while the Knights now sit at 9-9 and 2-5 in the conference.
Sophomore center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana) added 14 points and had four blocked shots for the Huskies, who won for the first time in three games. Junior guard Omar Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 11 points and freshman guard Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles, Calif.) had 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
B.J. Taylor led UCF with 13 points and Justin McBride added 11. Adonys Henriquez and Daiquan Walker each chipped in with 10.
The defending national champions never trailed and led by as many as 18 points after a 19-2 first half run.
USF fought back, cutting the lead to five points on a 3-pointer by Henriquez with 3 1/2 minutes left, but UConn held on.
The Knights have now lost two in a row and three of their last four.
Boatright, who had been held out of double figures in his last two games, hit his first four shots from 3-point range and had 12 points by intermission.
The Huskies attempted 17 shots from 3-point range in the half and hit 10 of them. They were just 1 of 3 after the break.
UConn jumped out quickly. A 3-pointer from Calhoun and a lob dunk by Brimah made it 5-0 and forced a UCF timeout a minute into the game.
Junior forward Phillip Nolan (Milwaukee, Wis.) drew a charging foul, the 14th time he's done that this season, sparking the run that appeared to give UConn control of the game and a 36-18 lead.
But the Knights closed the half on a 15-3 run, and scored the last 10 points to close the gap to 39-33 at intermission. UCF held the Huskies without a bucket for the final 3 minutes of the half, after keeping them scoreless for a 4-minute stretch earlier.
UCF did a better job guarding the 3-point line in the second half, but that left Brimah open underneath and he converted numerous lob passes into dunks.
The Huskies had not played on campus since losing to Yale on Dec. 5. They have played at seven different arenas since then, including four home games in Hartford and another game 80 miles away in Bridgeport.
UCF came in with just one road win on the season, an overtime victory at Houston.
UCF: B.J. Taylor who followed up at 33-point performance against Tulane on Jan. 14 with 17 points against Memphis last Saturday hit just four of his 13 shots. He came into the game leading all freshmen in the conference in scoring at 14.9 points per game.
UConn: The Huskies had a season-high 21 assists on 25 baskets.
UCF: The Knights continue their road trip in Cincinnati on Sunday to take on the Bearcats.
UCONN: The Huskies head to Hartford on Sunday for a game against USF.