HARTFORD, Conn. -- UConn didn't look pretty in beating Boston University, but after a rough start to the season the Huskies weren't looking for style points.
Freshman Christian Vital scored 13 points and UConn, down to just eight scholarship players because of injury, held off BU 51-49 on Wednesday night.
Kentan Facey added eight points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (3-4), who picked up their first home win in three tries, despite shooting just 32 percent from the field.
Eric Fanning led all scorers with 21 points for BU (4-3), which shot 31 percent and was just 3 of 19 from 3-point range.
"We just needed one stepping stone, and getting this win is hopefully going to lead us on to greater things," said UConn center Amida Brimah, who finished with nine points and three blocked shots.
UConn led for more than 27 minutes, but never by more than eight points.
A free throw by Jalen Adams made it 51-48 with three seconds left and UConn fouled guard Kyle Foreman in the backcourt with just under two seconds left to prevent the Terriers from attempting a 3-pointer. He missed his second free throw on purpose, but Facey was able to pull down the rebound.
The teams combined to hit just 14 of the 54 shots taken in the first half and UConn led 21-17 going into the break.
Rodney Purvis hit a shot from behind the arc that began a 9-3 second-half run that put UConn up 44-36, but the Huskies couldn't pull away.
Fanning scored the next five points.
His layup brought the Terriers to within three points at 46-43, by Tyler Scanlon missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game.
"I don't care if we win by a point or 15, we'll take all the wins we can get," Facey said.
BU hasn't beaten the Huskies since 1986. UConn leads the series 43-12.
THE BIG PICTURE
UConn: The Huskies will be short-handed the rest of the season. The team announced Tuesday that freshman point guard Alterique Gilbert will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season and freshman forward Mamadou Diarra will redshirt this season to undergo treatment for a painful knee condition known as patellofemoral syndrome. UConn already had lost starting swingman Terry Larrier, who tore the ACL his left knee in the Huskies' loss to Oklahoma State in Hawaii on Nov. 21.
"We just have to try and get better," coach Kevin Ollie said. "We've got eight guys and we're going to continue playing with those guys. We're not making any excuses. But I was very happy with the win and we're finding ways to win."
Boston University: BU showed it will struggle when it can't hit from behind the arc. The Terriers came into the game making an average of more than nine 3-pointers per game. They were shooting more than 26 3-pointers a game and were making almost 36 percent of those.
"I think sometimes we settle for the 3, when there are other things that we are capable of doing that we're not doing," said BU coach Joe Jones. "Getting the ball inside, driving the ball to the basket more often is some of the things that we are kind of missing in the diversity of how we play."
While UConn dresses just eight scholarship players, the Terriers have had 11 players reach double figures this season. They have a streak of 628 games with at least one made 3-pointer.
BU Outrebounded the Huskies 26-16 in the first half. UConn turned that around, grabbing a 26-18 advantage after the break.
Ollie wants the Huskies to be a running team. But UConn put up just two fast-break points on Wednesday, despite forcing 16 BU turnovers. Ollie said Adams, who will run the point in Gilbert's absence, must do a better job.
"Jalen has to get the ball and command it, especially when we hold a team to 31 percent we have to get those long rebounds and push it up and down the court," he said.
UConn: The Huskies travel to Madison Square Garden on Monday to face an old nemesis in No. 22 Syracuse before visiting Ohio State.
BU: The Terriers visit North Carolina State on Saturday, before returning home to play Canisius.