Napier's 19 leads UConn over Rutgers 66-54


Napier's 19 leads UConn over Rutgers 66-54

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Shabazz Napier scored 19 points as Connecticut beat Rutgers 66-54 on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak and sending the Scarlet Knights to their third consecutive loss.

Napier, still nursing a bruised left shoulder, also had six assists and pulled down five rebounds for the Huskies (13-5, 3-3 Big East). Ryan Boatright added 15 points and DeAndre Daniels added 13 for UConn.

Jerome Seagears, who averages just 4.5 points per game, scored a career-high 21 points for Rutgers (12-7, 3-5). Eli Carter added 13.

UConn hasn't lost at home to Rutgers in 36 years, and is 18-2 against the Scarlet Knights in Big East play.

The Huskies led by seven points at halftime, but made just two of their first 15 shots after intermission.

That allowed Rutgers to go on a 10-1 run, holding UConn without a field goal for the first 5:42 of the second half. A 3-pointer from Seagears gave Rutgers a 30-28 lead.

But a steal and three-point play by Niels Giffey put the Huskies back on top 35-32 midway through the half, and Napier followed that with a long 3-pointer.

Rutgers came right back. Two free throws by Eli Carter cut the deficit to 46-43.

But a tip-in from Daniels, followed by his steal and a dunk put the Huskies up by nine at 52-43, and the Huskies cruised from there.

The Huskies outrebounded Rutgers 37-33.

Connecticut fell behind 13-8 at the start, thanks to seven early points from Seagears. The Huskies responded with a 10-0 run, holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless for almost 6 minutes.

Connecticut stretched the lead to eight, despite having Boatright on the bench for all but 8 minutes of the half with two fouls.

Napier had nine first-half points for UConn and Daniels added seven as the Huskies went into the break leading 27-20.

Napier hasn't missed any time, but his effectiveness had been limited by a bruised left shoulder suffered early in the Huskies' Jan. 14 loss to Louisville. He seemed to be back to full strength in this one, hitting four of his first six shots and grabbing five first-half rebounds.

Boatright and Napier came into the game averaging 32.6 points as a combo. Rutgers' backcourt of Myles Mack and Eli Carter had combined for 28.8.

Eli Carter, who came in averaging more than 16 points a game, scored most of his points late. He hit just one shot in the first half and was 5 of 14 from the floor. He was just 1 for 14 in Rutgers' 72-60 home loss to St. John's.

Connecticut had lost back-to-back game to Louisville at home and at Pittsburgh a week ago. Rutgers was coming off losses at Notre Dame and to St. John's at home on Wednesday.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.