By John Vogl
Connecticut proved during its last game that a 10-point deficit means nothing. The Huskies did it again during the first half tonight.
UConn spotted Villanova a 19-9 lead through 8:27 in First Niagara Center, but the Wildcats couldn’t handle the prosperity. UConn enjoyed a 16-1 run as Villanova’s shooters fired blanks.
The Wildcats finally got back on the board with a free throw and three-pointer in the final 30 seconds, and the teams went to halftime with UConn holding a 25-24 lead.
The seventh-seeded Huskies shot just 34.5 percent in the first half. No. 2 Villanova fired at just 30.4 percent.
Before bottoming out, Villanova, which struck for 46 points in the second half of its opener, picked up where it left off. The Wildcats scored the first seven points and built a 13-5 cushion through the opening 4:15.
There were more commercial breaks than quality plays through the opening 12:06, as the teams struggled to find the basket or each other. Villanova held a 20-13 edge with 7:54 left by virtue of its marginally better shooting percentage (35.3 percent to 26.3 percent).
The Huskies finally found some success through a balanced attack as four of their five starters have at least four points. Ryan Arcidiacono of Villanova leads all scorers with eight points, which includes a 2-for-2 showing from three-point range.