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Mazzulla leads WVU over sliding Huskies

Mar 3, 2011 - 3:14 AM Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Joe Mazzulla scored 18 points and handed out five assists, and West Virginia held Connecticut to two field goals over the final 10 minutes to pull out a 65-56 victory over the 16th-ranked Huskies.

Kevin Jones posted 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers (19-10, 10-7 Big East), who boosted their NCAA Tournament resume by holding UConn to 37.3 percent shooting.

Kemba Walker netted 22 points and Shabazz Napier added 18 for the Huskies (21-8, 9-8), who have dropped three of their last four overall.

The programs were tied in the muddled Big East standings coming in, and by winning for the third time in four games, the Mountaineers can guarantee an opening-round bye in the upcoming conference tournament with a win over No. 11 Louisville in Saturday's regular season finale.

The Huskies must defeat Notre Dame on Saturday to have a shot at earning the bye, and they can thank Wednesday's horrid shooting effort down the stretch.

Charles Okwandu's bucket with under 11 minutes to play gave UConn a 47-46 lead, but the team went the next eight minutes without hitting a field goal.

WVU's subsequent 10-4 run, capped by Deniz Kilicli's tough layup on the left block, gave the hosts a 56-51 edge with less than four minutes remaining.

Napier got a baseline jumper to fall at 2:50, but Jones out-hustled UConn's big men for a putback layup a little later, and Napier was whistled for traveling the next time down.

The 2010 conference tournament champions sealed the much-needed win by making their final seven free throws.

The Huskies withstood West Virginia's quick start and took their first lead, 26-25, on a Napier layup in the final minute of the opening half.

The Mountaineers, whose biggest advantage in the first 20 minutes was nine, got a late three-pointer from Mazzulla to go up 28-26 at the break.

Game Notes

WVU recorded its 1,600th victory in school history...UConn finished the season 5-5 in true road tests...UConn head coach Jim Calhoun was trying to join Syracuse's Jim Boeheim as the only coach to earn 300 career Big East wins...WVU outscored the Huskies, 16-5, at the foul line.