'Noles can't close, lose to Huskies

G Michael Snaer (US Presswire)

Florida State had the lead late against No. 4 UConn, both in regulation and in overtime, but the Huskies made the plays they needed to make in crunch time and topped the Seminoles 78-76.

Florida State's Bernard James thought the Seminoles were headed for a victory when Connecticut freshman Ryan Boatwright went to the line needing to make three free throws to tie the game with seven seconds left.

''I was surprised he even got fouled,'' James said. ''The refs don't usually make a call like that with the game on the line. I figured he'd miss at least one.''

So much for that theory.

Boatwright made all three of those foul shots to send the game to overtime and Shabazz Napier had 26 points, leading No. 4 Connecticut to a 78-76 victory over No. 22 Florida State in the consolation game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Saturday.

Boatwright finished with 14 points and three assists in 33 minutes in his first college game.

''14 points, three assists, 33 minutes of quickness and speed," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Boatright makes the game easier for two great players, Napier and [Jeremy] Lamb. He had as much to do with the win as anyone else. He really stepped up and made those three big free throws.''

Lamb added 19 points for Connecticut (6-1), which shot 48 percent from the field, including 11 for 25 from 3-point range. Freshman Andre Drummond had 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocked shots and three steals.

''I'm proud of our kids,'' Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. ''Boatwright doesn't get much play, but he has an awful lot of courage. He didn't know if he was going to play today or two months from now. Our two freshmen made UConn feel healthy about ourselves. You want them to get their feet wet, but they just jumped in.''

Michael Snaer scored 20 points for Florida State (5-2), which lost 46-41 to Harvard on Friday. Deividas Dulkys had 14, and James finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

James' three-point play gave the Seminoles a 76-75 lead in overtime, but Napier made his sixth 3-pointer of the game to put the Huskies back in front with 1:08 left.

Napier also had five assists, four rebounds and two steals one day after he committed seven turnovers and went 1 for 7 from the field in a 68-63 loss to Central Florida.

But Napier thought Boatwright provided the biggest lift for the Huskies.

''He was the missing piece of the puzzle we needed,'' he said. ''To have him beside me is the best I can hope for. We rode the boat today.''

Florida State's Luke Loucks missed a 3-point attempt and two free throws in the final minute of OT and Snaer missed a 3 at the buzzer, giving Connecticut the win.

''It's a shot I feel I would normally have made,'' Snaer said. ''I had a pretty good look but couldn't finish it.''

The Huskies led 63-58 with 8:32 left in regulation, but the Seminoles battled back. James had a dunk, and Xavier Gibson made a 3-pointer to tie it at 65.

Connecticut blew a 17-point lead in the second half of its loss to Central Florida.

Calhoun's team appeared to be headed to another frustrating loss before Boatwright made those free throws at the end of regulation. Snaer then missed a last-second jumper, sending the game to overtime.

Florida State forward Terrance Shannon was injured when he got into a scramble for a loose ball in the second half. He was helped off the court while clutching his shoulder and did not return.

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