SOUTH BEND, Ind. (REUTERS) ? Ben Gordon scored 25 points and Rashad Anderson matched his career-high with 22 as Connecticut handed Notre Dame its first home loss in 15 games this season, 87-79 Monday night.
The victory also was the second straight for the Huskies since coach Jim Calhoun returned after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer Feb. 3. The loss ended Notre Dame’s home winning streak at 17 games, its longest home winning streak in 19 seasons.
The Fighting Irish (21-6, 9-4 Big East), down by 16, closed to 61-60 when Dan Miller hit a 3-pointer with 9:42 left. But Emeka Okafor made a pair of inside baskets for UConn (18-6, 9-4) as the Huskies regained control.
Okafor, who added 19 points for Connecticut, converted a three-point play with 6:23 left for a 75-66 lead. The Irish cut it to 77-73 with 3:54 left when Matt Carroll scored on a reverse layup, but Notre Dame simply ran out of energy.
Marcus White scored on a tip-in for UConn, Okafor scored inside and Gordon made four free throws down the stretch. UConn, just 4-5 on the road, held on for its fourth victory in its last five games.
Anderson, who averages 7.8 points a game, had 15 points at halftime, making five of seven 3-pointers. His previous career-high was four 3-pointers, a mark he set three times. He finished with six 3-pointers on nine attempts.
Carroll led Notre Dame with 28 points, Chris Thomas scored 14 of his 19 in the second half and Dan Miller added 13 points for the Irish. Notre Dame got only six points from its reserves, while UConn reserves scored 26.
After the Irish made seven of their first 12 shots en route to a 17-8 early lead, the Huskies held Notre Dame to 4-of-27 shooting (14.8 percent) the rest of the half. Connecticut shot 50 percent during that span, outscoring the Irish 38-14 and opening a 46-31 halftime lead.
The Irish were frustrated by UConn’s hot shooting. Thomas became upset when he was hit hard under the basket by Okafor and no foul was called. After Gordon made a 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 31-23 lead, Thomas was given a technical foul for complaining.
Coach Mike Brey sat down Thomas to allow him to regain his composure.
Calhoun also was called for a technical foul in the second half for complaining about a call.
Notre Dame was held to a 37 percent shooting, while UConn shot 42 percent and outrebounded the Irish 51-42.