(6) Connecticut 63

(17-3, 5-1 Big East)

Boston College 58

(13-7, 2-5 Big East)

    4:00 PM ET, January 31, 2004

    Silvio Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

    1 2 T
    #6CONN 29 3463
    BC 30 2858

    Boston College holds Okafor to six rebounds

    BOSTON (AP) -- Emeka Okafor helps Connecticut by getting his hands on opponents' shots. On Saturday, he did it by tipping a shot from a teammate.

    Taliek Brown's missed free throw glanced off Okafor and into the hands of teammate Josh Boone, who laid the ball in for a key basket in the sixth-ranked Huskies' 63-58 win over Boston College.

    Boone's only basket made it 60-56 with 23 seconds left. Had the Eagles gotten the rebound, they could have tied the game with a field goal or gone ahead with a 3-pointer.

    "It was just good timing, I guess," Boone said. "The fact is, the rebound should have been Emeka's. He hit it first."

    Okafor had only two blocks after leading the nation with 4.9 a game. And his six rebounds were below his average of 11.5. But he and Rashad Anderson led Connecticut with 16 points each.

    Boone, a freshman forward, started the game and "looked like a rookie on the road in a very physical game," but came through down the stretch, Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. He played 15 minutes.

    Connecticut (17-3, 5-1 Big East) didn't use the fastbreak as much as usual, in part because BC held the ball on offense to disrupt the Huskies' offensive rhythm.

    "We couldn't get three, four or five baskets in a row, which is something we do exceptionally well," Calhoun said. "They executed their game plan to perfection. We made a couple of big plays down the stretch."

    The Huskies scored their last three points on free throws, and BC coach Al Skinner was upset with Connecticut's 26-12 shooting advantage from the foul line. The Eagles' first free throw came with 8:56 left in the game.

    "No one gets fouled in the act of shooting? No one gets fouled?" Skinner said. "My guys deserve a better effort than they got (from the referees). Anyone that knows me knows I don't whine. I don't complain. I guess I do now."

    Craig Smith led Boston College with 18 points, and Uka Agbai and Louis Hinnant had 10 each.

    The Huskies, who had dropped from first in the nation by losing two of their previous four games, took the lead for good, 55-53, on Brown's layup with 2:42 left.

    Smith missed and Okafor got the rebound that set up Anderson's 3-pointer, which made it 58-53 with 1:56 remaining.

    "I was in a rhythm," said Anderson, who made five of seven shots, including three of five 3-pointers. "Coach tells me to be more aggressive on the offensive end."

    BC cut the lead to 58-56 on two free throws by Hinnant and one by Jermaine Watson.

    That's when Brown missed two free throws and Boone scored on the follow. Boone added a free throw with nine seconds remaining, Smith made a layup and Anderson finished the scoring with two more free throws.

    "It's tough when you're playing against eight guys. It felt that way at times," Agbai said of the five Connecticut players and three referees on the court. "We certainly showed today we were the better team. We were better than UConn."

    BC led most of the game, and it was tied four times in the second half before the Huskies went ahead to stay

    "You can do everything right, and they can still score," Skinner said.

    Brown's go-ahead basket came after he stole Smith's pass near midcourt and went in ahead of the field.

    The Huskies had been ranked first for eight weeks this season but fell to sixth after losing to Providence 66-56 on Jan. 24. The Eagles lost their third straight and second in a row to a top 10 team. No. 7 Pittsburgh beat them 68-58 Wednesday night.

    BC took its biggest lead of the first half, 17-12, as Connecticut committed nine turnovers and missed 12 of 16 shots in the first 12:31. But the Huskies scored the next seven points to go ahead 19-17 before trailing at intermission.

    The 29 points were the lowest in the first half for the Huskies since their season opener when they scored 28 in a 70-60 win over Yale.

    The win was Connecticut's 28th in its last 30 games against BC.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2003-04 Season

    » Jan 31, 2004 CONN 63, @BC 58Recap