Connecticut surves scare from BuffaloDec 5, 2008 - 5:05 AM BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Connecticut survived a huge scare on Thursday ... and that's no Bull.
The second-ranked Huskies used a second-half run to down Buffalo, 68-64, and avoid a nearly unthinkable upset.
The Bulls threatened to pull the shocker until the Huskies went on an 15-5 surge to turn a 51-48 deficit into a 63-56 lead with 3:31 left.
Buffalo battled back as Calvin Betts hit a layup and Max Boudreau a foul-line jumper before UConn's Jeff Adrien threw down a dunk.
Hasheem Thabeet, who had 21 points and 18 rebounds, hit a foul shot to make it 66-60.
Rodney Pierce then sank a pair of free throws with 1:15 left to cut the deficit to 66-62.
UConn ran the clock down but Jerome Dyson missed a shot and Pierce was fouled after grabbing the rebound. The 6-2 Pierce hit both free throws to make it 66-64.
Freshman Kemba Walker traveled with 37 seconds left to give the ball back to the Bulls.
Pierce missed a driving layup but grabbed the rebound and called time with 18 seconds left.
Pierce held the ball outside, drove the lane and attempted to pass it inside. It was picked off by Connecticut (8-0) and the Huskies hit two free throws to lock up the victory.
"I thought Reggie (Witherspoon) had his team incredibly well-prepared. They didn't try any tricks. That's how they play," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Quite frankly, they probably outplayed us in the game. They outworked us at least."
Pierce had a career-high 28 points for the Bulls (3-3).
"We came into this game not seeing ourselves as the underdogs," freshman forward Mitchell Watt said. "We believe in ourselves, we take pride in playing for UB and we think that we are prepared to take it to anybody who comes in here."
Buffalo jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Pierce scoring all the points. The Bulls maintained the lead until Craig Austrie made a layup off a pass from A.J. Price to make it 10-9.
Buffalo ran off seven straight points to go up 18-12.
The Bulls stayed in front until Thabeet's three-point play gave UConn a 32-30 lead with 1:11 left in the half. Piece hit a basket with nine seconds left and the game went into intermission tied at 32-32.
This was the eighth meeting between the schools, but it was the first time since the 1951-52 season that UConn was playing at Buffalo. UConn leads the series, 7-1.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
CONNECTICUT (2) 32 36 68
BUFFALO 32 32 64 FINAL
Dec 4 9:09 PM
- NCAA BB
(2) CONNECTICUT 32
BUFFALO 32 HALFTIME
Dec 4 7:51 PM
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