PROVIDENCE— Omar Calhoun hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 40 seconds remaining in overtime to open a 79-76 lead and Shabazz Napier hit three free throws in the closing seconds to preserve a wild 82-79 win over Providence Thursday at the Dunkin Donuts Center
Providence guard Bryce Cotton, the Big East’s leading scorer, had a chance to tie on a step-back, but the ball rimmed out.
STAR OF THE GAME: Ryan Boatright finished with 19 points and seven assists, including the pass to Calhoun for the clincher.
KEY TO THE WIN: The Huskies converted 9-of-13 field goals to open up a 22-9 advantage, but their transition offense stalled, largely thanks to their rebounding woes. The Friar zone caused problems for UConn, which adjusted and routinely fed DeAndre Daniels at the high post. UConn’s 6-foot-8 sophomore finished with 18 points, including two free throws that gave UConn a 73-72 lead in overtime. He fouled out with 24.8 seconds remaining.
*Providence amassed a mind-boggling 18 offensive rebounds in the first half and continued the onslaught after the break. For the game, the Friars held a 48-22 advantage.
*Trailing 69-67, Providence forward LaDontae Henton tied the game on a baseline layup with 16 seconds remaining. UConn countered with a stagnant final possession that resulted in a wild Boatright jumper being rejected by Providence guard Kris Dunn.
*Shabazz Napier was non-existent for much of the game, attempting only three field goals in the first 37 minutes. He hit a timely 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining, though, to break a 61-61 tie and converted another in overtime that put UConn ahead 76-74. He made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch.
*Cotton missed a host of open jumpers, but came up with two game-tying 3s in the final three minutes of regulation. He ended with 17 points.