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No. 19 Gonzaga clips UConn in Hall of Fame Showcase

BOSTON (AP) -- A couple of close wins made it a nice trip East for Gonzaga.

Jeremy Pargo scored eight of his 23 points in the final 4:17 and the 19th-ranked Bulldogs held off Connecticut 85-82 on Saturday in The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase at TD Banknorth Garden.

Gonzaga, which headed across the country after finishing third in the Great Alaska Shootout, started its Eastern swing with a 70-65 overtime victory at Saint Joseph's on Thursday night.

"It was a great win," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said of Saturday's victory. "It was a tough trip for us. This was a tough couple of days, to go into the band box where St. Joe's is so tough and to come into UConn country.

"This was a hard trip. We came from Alaska, maybe were in Spokane for 48 hours and then here."

Pargo didn't want to hear about the trip making things tough on the Bulldogs, who are still without starting center Josh Heyvelt, who is expected back from ankle surgery around Christmas.

"Once you play basketball all that goes away," Pargo said of the trip. "If you think about it you come away with a loss. We play basketball. You can't think about things like that. You have NBA guys play back-to-back games for 82 games."

Pargo, a junior guard, made three field goals down the stretch, including a jumper with 1:43 left that gave the Bulldogs (7-1) a 79-76 lead. He missed two free throws with 1:12 left but made two 28 seconds later for an 81-76 lead.

"This guy managed the game the way we wanted him to," Few said of Pargo.

A.J. Price sandwiched a basket down low and two free throws around one free throw by Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin to get the Huskies (5-2) to 82-80 with 21 seconds to go.

Gonzaga freshman Austin Daye, a 90 percent free throw shooter this season, made two at the line with 15 seconds left for an 84-80 lead. Price scored on a layup off an inbound pass with 6.7 seconds to go for a two-point game.

Daye was fouled again with 4.2 seconds left and he only made the first.

Connecticut came down with a chance to tie but Price's 3 from the left side bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Bouldin added 19 points for Gonzaga, while Micah Downs had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Price led the Huskies with 24 points, while Jerome Dyson added 19 and Jeff Adrien had 15.

Connecticut finished 9-for-28 from 3-point range (32.1 percent), meaning the Huskies missed 15 of their last 17 shots from beyond the arc.

"We knew if they wanted to shoot the 3s that's not what they normally do," Few said of Connecticut. "We knew if we could weather the storm we could get back and make it manageable."

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun was visibly upset with his team after the game.

"We did shoot well in the first half but in the whole second half we made three good plays and a bunch of bad ones," Calhoun said. "I can't say anything about a single UConn player. In 22 years I can count on one hand opportunities that were presented like that. It's best that's all I say. Gonzaga deserved to win because they made the plays when they had to. This game's going to stick with me for a while. We gave points away. We put ourselves in that position."

The Huskies started the game by making seven of their first 11 3-point attempts against Gonzaga's zone and they led by as many as 10 points in the first half. Gonzaga took its first lead of the game, 45-44, on a 3-pointer by David Pendergraft with a second left in the half.

Connecticut opened a 67-63 lead, but Bouldin had all the points in a 9-2 run that put Gonzaga up 72-69 with 6:38 to play.

There were four more lead changes the rest of the way.

Former UConn star Ray Allen, now with the Boston Celtics, sat courtside and then talked to the team after the game.

"He said, 'Just keep your head up and stay focused,'" Huskies forward Stanley Robinson recounted. "It starts with your heart. You have to stay together. We have to sit up as a team and correct mistakes. We can't always look to Coach to get it right."

Price echoed Calhoun's sentiment.

"I understand Coach was frustrated tonight and he had a reason to be -- we let one get away," Price said.

Gonzaga returns home for a meeting with local rival No. 6 Washington State on Wednesday.

This was Gonzaga's first win in three meetings with Connecticut. The Huskies won in the 1999 West Regional championship game and in the 2005 Maui Invitational title game.