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UConn opens title defense with comeback win over Bryant

Nov 15, 2014 - 1:32 PM Storrs, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending national champion UConn trailed early in the second half, but rallied to avoid a major upset.

Ryan Boatright had 24 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the 17th- ranked Connecticut Huskies' 66-53 season-opening win over the Bryant Bulldogs.

UConn won its fourth national title last year in the program's first season back from a postseason ban. The team finished 32-8 overall, which included impressive wins over Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida and Kentucky en route to the title. But the Huskies lost guard Shabazz Napier and forward DeAndre Daniels in the offseason.

Amida Brimah and Sam Cassell Jr. added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Huskies (1-0). Guard Rodney Purvis was suspended for Friday's game because of a violation of an NCAA rule governing participation in summer leagues.

Dyami Starks ended with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals for the Bulldogs (0-1), who went 18-14 last season. Dan Garvin tallied 10 points, six boards and two blocks.

Bryant lost two key starters from a season ago in guard Corey Maynard and 2,000-point scorer Alex Francis.

Trailing 19-8, the Bulldogs went on an 18-0 run. Starks tallied eight points during the surge to help Bryant take a 26-19 lead. The visitors took a 34-28 margin into the locker room.

The Bulldogs held a 39-32 edge when UConn went on a 13-4 run. Boatright tallied nine points during the surge, including a layup with 10:34 remaining to make it 45-43 Huskies.

Starks made two free throws to tie things up, but the Huskies responded with seven straight points. Boatright's 3-pointer made it 52-45 and UConn cruised the rest of the way.

Game Notes

The Huskies won their 15th consecutive season opener ... Connecticut shot 46.3 percent from the field and went 10-of-11 from the foul line ... Boatright went 3-of-6 from 3-point range.