The Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. Ä It took 25 minutes for fourth-ranked Connecticut to look like it was the best team in the Big East Conference playing against the worst team in the league.
But once the Huskies (21-2 overall, 14-1 in the Big East) finally warmed up, they got Boston College (8-15, 2-13) into a foot race and came from behind to beat the Eagles 88-75 last night.
''I'd like to say BC gave us as tough a time in the first 25 minutes as any team,'' UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. ''They did a terrific job of staying with their zone, even though it seemed at times it wasn't working. They made us take poor shots.''
The Huskies had fallen behind 42-35 at the half and were down by nine points three times early in the second before making a 19-2 run that turned the game around.
''I thought we did a good job for the first 25 minutes of controlling the tempo, of keeping them on defense a little bit longer, and then when we had to make some shots we were able to make some shots,'' said BC coach Jim O'Brien.
''It's hard to keep a good team down, and they came out and just had a barrage of threes in the second half, and we were unable to match it,'' he said.
Ray Allen, who was coming off a season low, matched his career-high with 31 points as Connecticut rebounded from its first Big East lost of the season, a 96-73 thrashing by Villanova Saturday.
''I did everything for the team, to help the team win,'' Allen said. ''We came out slow and I just stepped in and filled my role.''
One of the reasons Connecticut may have had trouble with BC in the first half is because starting guard Doron Sheffer left after he sprained his right ankle under four minutes into the game and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Huskies, who seemed to have trouble distributing the ball against BC's 2-3 zone in the first half, adjusted in the second half. Point guard Kevin Ollie matched his season high with 14 assists, and Brian Fair added 12 points off the bench.
''I don't want you to think we don't miss Doron and we don't need him,'' center Travis Knight said. ''But the things he does Brian can do. Of course we miss him, but we have other people who can do the same things.''
After Danya Abrams put Boston College up 52-43 with a baseline jumper, Donny Marshall started the Huskies' spurt with a three-pointer and Allen scored the last eight points, making it 62-54 on a three-point play.
''When you come in and get that motion and that string of baskets, between me and Donny I felt like we were over that hump and things were starting to go right for us. And our defense was there,'' Allen said.
Boston College, which built its halftime lead by forcing nine turnovers and shooting 55 percent from the field, was held to Antonio Granger's pullup jumper during the 4 1/2-minute stretch.
Duane Woodward ended Connecticut's run with a three-pointer to make it 62-57 with 9:41 remaining, but the Eagles wouldn't get closer the rest of the way.
Allen, held to 11 points against Villanova, finished 11-for-20 from the field, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.
Marshall scored 20 points and Brian Fair and Knight each added 12 as the Huskies rebounded from their first Big East loss over the season.
Paul Grant led BC with a career-high 20 points, one better than the 19 he scored in a loss Saturday to St. John's. Woodward finished with 14 and Abrams had 13.
Grant kept BC close early by scoring 13 of his team's first 15 points, his last two on a layup that got the Eagles to within 16-15.
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