Shabazz Napier scores 25 to fuel UConn past Villanova

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Shabazz Napier scored 25 to lead No. 7 University of Connecticut Huskies past No. 2 Villanova Wildcats, 77-65 Saturday at First Niagara Center.

Lasan Kromah scored 12 points while DeAndre Daniels, Ryan Boatright and Terrence Samuel each had 11 for UConn (28-8).

Villanova (29-5) started with a 7-0 lead capped by Ryan Arcidiacono’s 3-pointer.

Darrun Hilliard’s 3 put Villanova up 19-9 with 11:30 left.

But UConn had 15 unanswered points to overtake Villanova 25-20 with 1:32 left in the opening period.

A JayVaughn Pinkston’s free throw and another Arcidiacono 3-pointer cut UConn’s lead to 25-24 at halftime.

The teams traded leads four times to open the second half, with Villanova taking the lead for the last time at 36-35 following a couple of 3-pointers by James Bell.

UConn had a 16-4 burst with Napier contributing eight points to earn a 51-40 lead.

Villanova managed to bring down the lead to 56-51 with 3:59 left.

But UConn buried them with a 9-2 run for a 65-52 advantage with just 1:38 left in the game.

Arcidiacono scored 18 while Bell had 14 points and Hilliard added 13 for Villanova.

Connecticut (28-8) advances to face the winner of Sunday’s game between third-seeded Iowa State and No. 6 seed North Carolina.

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