Price's career high helps Connecticut rally past Notre DameFeb 14, 2008 - 3:49 AM STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- A.J. Price and Connecticut just keep finding ways to win.
Price scored a career-high 26 points and had nine assists as No. 17 Connecticut overcame 18th-ranked Notre Dame's inside presence to win its eighth straight contest, 84-78, in a Big East matchup Wednesday.
Craig Austrie had 14 points and Jeff Adrien added 13 and nine rebounds for the Huskies (19-5, 8-3 Big East), who won despite allowing the most points in a home game this season - mostly due to a career-high 32 from Notre Dame's Luke Harangody.
"This was a high-level basketball game played by two pretty good basketball teams," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Everybody chipped in, but A.J. took the game over, and that made the difference."
The fast-paced contest was close throughout as neither team had a lead larger than six during the second half, which featured seven lead changes.
Notre Dame led by two at the break and were ahead, 70-66, in the second half before missing eight shots in a row, allowing the Huskies to tie the game on a pair of free throws by Gavin Edwards with 4:47 to play.
After the Irish briefly regained a two-point advantage, Price knocked down a jumper to tie the game, and Adrien and Austrie each made a pair of free throws to give the Huskies a 76-72 lead.
"My hats off to Connecticut, they made big shots and big plays at key times, little bit of the reverse of what happened in South Bend," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "But I love how our team played. We went for it, we were going for it, we were fearless, and I think we got better playing in this atmosphere playing against a good team even though we didn't win the game."
Stanley Robinson's 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 1:55 remaining gave Connecticut a 79-74 bulge, and the Irish (18-5, 8-3) could get no closer than three the rest of the way, missing their final seven shots from the field.
"Robinson's shot was the game probably," Brey said. "The law of averages says we'll live with a jump shot from there, but he stuck it and a lot of times that happens, especially when you are playing at home. I give him a lot of credit."
"I was pretty confident releasing the shot," Robinson said. "I knew I had to catch and shoot."
Harangody shot 13-of-24 from the field and added 16 rebounds for Notre Dame, which had its five-game winning streak snapped.
"I think the game started well because he got outside early and made some jump shots and it kind of changed the tempo of the game, then we went back inside to him," Brey said.
The Irish shot over 50 percent in the first half, but connected on 14-of-42 (33 percent) attempts from the field over the final 20 minutes.
Price was 10-of-19 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from the arc, and tied a season high with nine assists.
Doug Wiggins also scored in double figures for Connecticut with 10 points and nine rebounds and Hasheem Thabeet chipped in 10 rebounds and six blocks.
The teams went back and forth early before a 9-2 Notre Dame run helped the Irish open up a 33-25 lead with 8:20 left in the first half.
"The first 30 minutes it turned into a track meet, and a lot of skill and a lot of good stuff," Calhoun said. "They shouldn't be as quick as us and, particularly early, they were still beating us up the floor."
Connecticut rallied to tie the game before Kyle McAlarney's layup put Notre Dame back in front, 41-39, at the break.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
NOTRE DAME (18) 41 37 78
CONNECTICUT (17) 39 45 84 FINAL
Feb 13 8:52 PM
- NCAA BB
(18) NOTRE DAME 41
(17) CONNECTICUT 39 HALFTIME
Feb 13 7:43 PM
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