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Napier Leads UConn Past DePaul, 81-69

Chicagoland native Ryan Boatright had 17 points on Saturday.

Feb. 23, 2013

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ROSEMONT, Ill. - Junior Shabazz Napier (Roxbury,Mass.) scored 28 points, sophomore Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) and freshman Omar Calhoun (Queens, NY) added 17 apiece, and Connecticut beat DePaul 81-69 on Saturday night.

The Huskies (19-7, 9-5 BIG EAST) got all they could handle from DePaul after squeezing by Cincinnati in overtime, but they still came away with their seventh win in nine games.

They trailed by three points at the break and were down one early in the second half when they scored 13 straight to take control and send the Blue Demons (11-16, 2-12) to their 11th loss in 12 games.

Napier, who scored 27 against Cincinnati, came up big again, hitting 5 of 7 3-pointers and keying the decisive rally.

Calhoun delivered down the stretch, scoring all but two of his points in the second half.

For the game, Calhoun and Boatright, who is from nearby Aurora, Ill., in Chicagoland, both shot seven of 11 from the field, and the Huskies shot 60 percent. Even so, they were still trailing 47-46 about five minutes into the second half when they finally started to put this one away.

Napier nailed a three-pointer and converted a three-point play on a fast-break layup to start the decisive run. Junior Niels Giffey (Berlin, Germany) added a corner three and finished it with a layup after Calhoun scored on the break, making it 59-47 with 11:28 to go.

The Huskies stayed in control the rest of the way.

DePaul got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Cleveland Melvin and shot 48 percent, but they were just five of 15 on three-pointers. Brandon Young, who scored a career-high 35 in a loss at Connecticut last month, finished with 13 this time.

The Blue Demons were in good shape at the half, taking a 37-34 lead to the locker room after they wiped out a 29-22 deficit.

Melvin buried a three to start a 12-0 run and had an emphatic fast-break dunk. Charles McKinney had a layup and a three during that stretch, and Donnavan Kirk finished it with a jumper to make it 34-29 with two minutes remaining.

Then, after a jumper by Boatright and three by Napier to tie it, Young drove for a three-point play in the closing seconds to send DePaul to the locker room with the lead.

UConn went on a run early in the second half to take a four-point lead, but Melvin tied it at 45 with a pair of dunks. He also hit a baseline jumper to put DePaul ahead 47-46 before the Huskies took control.

UConn returns to action on Wednesday when it takes on Georgetown at 7:00 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the game. CLICK HERE to purchase.