Scores

Final

(17) Syracuse 61

(16-4, 7-3 Big East)

(23) Connecticut 75

(15-5, 6-3 Big East)

7:00 PM ET, February 10, 2003

XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut

1 2 T
#17SYR 27 3461
#23CONN 30 4575

Huskies win second straight without Calhoun

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut needed a big-time win and the Huskies (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) got it Monday night by using balanced offense and solid defense to beat Syracuse (No. 18, No. 17) 75-61.

Hilton Armstrong

Connecticut's Hilton Armstrong, left, tries to block Syracuse's Hakim Warrick in the first half Monday ngiht.

"This won't make up for any tough losses, but we just beat a quality team and we needed a quality win badly,'' said sophomore center Emeka Okafor, who had 15 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.

The Huskies (15-5, 6-3 Big East) won their second straight game since losing two in a row by more than 20 points. They improved to 2-1 without coach Jim Calhoun, who was released from the hospital Sunday, three days after having surgery to remove a cancerous prostate. They also won their second game without starting point guard Taliek Brown, who will be out four-to-six weeks with a broken finger.

"We just got it done,'' Okafor said of the Huskies' first win over a ranked team this season. "Coach is out. Taliek is out. This shows what we can do, and we're doing it at a good time. The Big Chief is out, but we're holding down the fort.''

Freshman Carmelo Anthony matched his career high with 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Orangemen (16-4, 7-3), who had won three straight and five of six.

"Their defense was tough, they denied us and tried to take the lane, but we missed shots we usually make,'' said Anthony, who was 9-for-25 from the field and scored 12 of his 17 second-half points after getting an offensive rebound. "At the beginning of the game, Coach said we had to hit the offensive boards, and that wasn't easy because they had some big guys in there.''

Connecticut spread its offense out, as seven of its eight players scored at least seven points. Meanwhile, Syracuse was pretty much limited to converting offensive rebounds for points.

The Orangemen, who entered the game third in the league in scoring (81.1) and second in field goal percentage (48.8), were 20-for-67 from the field (29.9 percent), including 8-for-37 in the second half. They also finished 2-for-17 from 3-point range.

"The way we played on offense, we were fortunate to be in the game. We just didn't get anything in the basket,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "If we would have made a couple of shots, the game goes down to the wire.''

Syracuse's first 17 points of the second half came on free throws, and its first field goal was accidentally put in by Okafor as he tried to grab a rebound.

The first field goal for the Orangemen came on an alley-oop to Hakim Warrick with 11:05 to play, and it pulled them to 50-44. They got to 50-46 just over a minute later on a layup by Kueth Duany, but the Huskies went on a 13-5 run that featured a short jumper by Ben Gordon, the first field goal of the half for the Huskies' leading scorer.

Rashad Anderson had 13 points for Connecticut, which had lost three of its last four against Syracuse, while Gordon had 11, well below his 20.6 average.

"This was the kind of game where that just happened,'' Gordon said of the balanced scoring. "We can be that kind of team when guys get in their rhythm, we can share the wealth and have everyone contribute.''

Warrick and Duany each had 12 points for Syracuse, which finished with a 41-38 rebounding advantage, including 21-11 on the offensive end.

Connecticut associate head coach George Blaney, who's filling in for Calhoun, praised his team and then added that this could be a very big win as the regular season winds down.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the toughness, the quickness and execution of Jim Calhoun's team,'' he said. "To hold them to 29 percent and play the kind of game we played, there are usually three or four defining moments in a season, and I hope this is one of them.''

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

2002-03 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Feb 10, 2003 @CONN 75, SYR 61Recap
Mar 14, 2003 CONN 80, @SYR 67Recap