STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Trailing in the second half for the first time this season, second-ranked UConn got contributions from unlikely sources to overcome Georgetown.
Joey Calceterra scored all of his 14 points in the final 11 minutes, while Hassan Diarra had the tying and go-ahead baskets as the Huskies rallied for an 84-73 victory on Tuesday night.
“It was good to be in some huddles where there was a little soul searching and some character, some reach-down deep stuff,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said.
Tristan Newton had 17 points and seven assists, while Adama Sanogo added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (13-0, 2-0 Big East). Jordan Hawkins scored 15 points and Andre Jackson finished with seven points, eight assists and six rebounds.
UConn led by seven at halftime, but a dunk by former UConn forward/center Akok Akok gave Georgetown a 51-49 lead with 16:35 left to play. It was the first time this season that the Huskies have trailed in the second half.
Georgetown led by seven points with 12:50 to play after jumpers by Primo Spears, who led the Hoyas with 19 points, and Akok.
“The turnovers we made let them back in the game, but I thought we took a step today in terms of our intensity,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said.
“They took 30 3s tonight. When we got the lead, we did a good job of not giving them those 3s. We kind of exhaled and started giving it to them and it felt like the dam just burst.”
Newton started the comeback by drawing an offensive foul and then hitting free throws after an aggressive drive to the basket.
Calcaterra hit a pair of layups and then had a behind-the-back pass to set up a dunk by Donovan Clingan.
Hassan Diarra and Calcaterra later hit 3-pointers to give UConn a six-point lead.
“It was truly crazy, just to tie the game up and take the lead,” Diarra said. “The crowd was amazing, I was flabbergasted by the crowd.”
UConn cooled off after a strong start from the perimeter, but made five of its last six 3-pointers to open a 47-40 lead at halftime.
It was just the third time this season and the first time at home that UConn failed to lead by at least 10 points at halftime.
“We didn’t have the disruption on the defense end,” Hurley said. “We allowed them to get too comfortable and the rebounding thing (Georgetown outrebounded UConn 40-28 and 12-5 on the offensive end) rarely happens to us. We got out of character on some things.”
With Georgetown’s size making it difficult for UConn to get the ball to Sanogo, the Huskies’ leading scorer, Hurley turned to reserves Naheim Alleyne, Calcaterra, Diarra and Clingan to key the comeback.
“He (Diarra) really changed the tenor in terms of getting after their guards and creating some havoc,” Hurley said.
Georgetown: It was the type of performance that could help the Hoyas, who were picked to finish 10th out of 11 teams in the Big East preseason coaches’ poll.
UConn: The Huskies won their conference home opener without huge games from stars Sanogo and Hawkins.
Georgetown plays at DePaul on Dec. 29.
UConn hosts Villanova at the XL Center on Dec. 28.