HARTFORD- Stanford used an inspired second-half defensive effort to stun No. 10/10 Connecticut 53-51 on Wednesday night at the XL Center in Hartford, notching its first road win over a top-10 team in five years.
Trailing 38-28 at halftime and 43-30 four minutes into the second half, Stanford (8-2) harassed Connecticut defensively over the final 15 minutes, limiting the Huskies to just 5-31 (16.1 percent) shooting in the second half.
Omar Calhoun’s three-point attempt as time expired fell short, securing the upset victory for Stanford.
Connecticut had won 54 straight home games against nonconference opponents. The Huskies had not lost to a non-league foe at home since a 77-73 setback to Indiana on Jan. 20, 2007 at the XL Center.
Chasson Randle poured in a game-high 22 points, making 8-16 from the field. Randle did the bulk of his damage from beyond the arc, connecting on four of the Cardinal’s six three-pointers.
Dwight Powell registered a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, adding to a gaudy stat line that also included five assists and four blocks. Josh Huestis added another double-double, totaling 13 points on 6-8 shooting and 10 rebounds.
Stanford shot a season-low 35.0 percent overall, staying within striking distance despite a sluggish first half that featured 30.6 percent shooting. However, the Cardinal owned a 43-41 rebounding advantage and relied on a stingy zone defense to completely stifle the Huskies.
It was Stanford’s first road win over a top-10 team since a 67-65 overtime victory at No. 9/9 Washington State back on Feb. 2, 2008.
Connecticut entered the game leading the nation in three-point shooting at 46.5 percent. The Huskies connected on 6-10 in the first half before missing all 12 attempts in the second half, including the potential game-winner as time expired.
Trailing 25-24, the Huskies closed out the first half on a 13-4 scoring run to take a 38-28 lead into the locker room.
Connecticut quickly pushed the lead to 43-30 following a lay-up from Niels Giffey at the 16:48 mark.
That’s when Stanford’s defense took over. The Cardinal ripped off 14 straight points and held the Huskies without a field goal for more than six minutes.
A jumper from Randle with 3:32 remaining gave Stanford a 52-49 lead. The Huskies pulled to within a point when DeAndre Daniels tipped in a missed 3-point attempt by Giffey.
Shabazz Napier, who finished with 12 points and eight assists, missed three shots in the final 40 seconds with a chance to put the Huskies ahead.
Huestis converted on the first of two free throws for a 53-51 lead with 28 ticks remaining, and the Cardinal defense turned away Connecticut’s final two attempts.
Stanford’s road swing concludes on Saturday, Dec. 21, when the Cardinal faces Michigan at the Barclays Center to headline the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. PT.
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NOTES: Stanford collected its first win over Connecticut in five attempts. The schools were meeting for the first time since March 22, 2003, when Connecticut claimed an 85-74 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament … It’s the start of a home-and-home series, with the Huskies scheduled to visit Maples Pavilion next year … Tonight represented Stanford’s lowest scoring output in a victory since a 51-43 win over USC on Dec. 31, 2011 … UConn's 13 second-half points were the fewest in any half by a Stanford opponent since Oregon State was also held to 13 in the second half back on Jan. 21, 2010 ... The Cardinal has surrendered 60 points or less in three straight games … Stanford is now 5-13 all-time against top-25 teams under head coach Johnny Dawkins … Stanford picked up its first road win over a top-25 club since March 5, 2009 in a 74-64 triumph at No. 21/21 Arizona State … Entering tonight’s game, Stanford had traveled 11,523 miles during non-conference play. The Cardinal has visited Denver and will be making its second trip to Brooklyn this weekend … The game featured five ties and 18 lead changes … Stanford’s bench was held scoreless (0-4 FG) … The Cardinal committed a season-low eight turnovers … The last time Stanford won a game despite shooting 35.0 percent or less was Nov. 28, 2012, when the Cardinal shot 34.4 percent in a 68-57 victory over Seatte ... The Cardinal tallied a season-best nine blocks. Josh Huestis moved into sole possession of third place on the school’s all-time list with 147 while Dwight Powell’s four swats increased his career total to 99, good for eighth overall … Since an 0-5 outing from three-point territory against Pittsburgh three weeks ago, Chasson Randle is shooting 12-17 (70.5 percent) from beyond the arc … For the first time in his career, Chasson Randle played all 40 minutes of a regulation game … Dwight Powell notched his third double-double of the season and 16th career … Josh Huestis tallied his second double-double of the year and 13th career … For the first time in 10 games, Anthony Brown did not score in double figures. He finished with five points on 2-8 shooting in 40 minutes … Stanford is 60-19 against non-conference opponents under head coach Johnny Dawkins … The Cardinal has made at least one three-pointer in 398 consecutive games, dating back to 2001.
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Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
“What a game. Connecticut is a terrific program and Kevin has done an amazing job since taking over. For us to come here and have the opportunity to play them was something that was very exciting for our guys to be able to do. To win the game, and the way we won it, defensively, speaks a lot about our kids.”
“At halftime, we were reeling. We were trying to search and find out what we could do. Our guys really stepped up and just did it on the defensive end. It was one of the best efforts I’ve ever seen for a half. I’m just really proud of their effort. We’ve gravitated to zone a little more this year with all of the rule changes and everything … But our guys make it work whether we’re in man or in zone. Their effort and energy is why things can happen out there positively for our team. I thought we did a great job of being active in both man and zone.”
“I definitely give some credit to our defense. I thought we were very active. Did they miss some open looks? Absolutely. But it happens in our game, especially when you’re applying pressure and guys are active and making plays. I thought it may have sped them up a little bit in the zone and we were able to continue to just lock in defensively for entire possessions. In the second half, I thought we really did a better job of staying focused and chasing them off of some of the threes that they were looking to get.”
Stanford Junior Chasson Randle
"It was just a matter of us being aggressive on the defensive end. Just being active, getting our hands moving, getting our feet moving and getting our feet moving and just hustling."
Stanford Senior Josh Huestis
“This was huge for us. We knew inside our locker room we could compete with anybody, but not until you prove it.''
Connecticut Head Coach Kevin Ollie
“Just a tough shooting night. I can’t even blame it on the layoff. We came out, we played well, had a 10-point lead at halftime. Came back in the first three minutes and pushed it up to 13 and then, like we’ve been doing, we play in spurts and we let the team back in. Once they smelled that they can play with us, they took it to us.”
“They came in, they needed this win. They didn’t have a staple win the whole season. And we are a top-10 team and it’s going to be a good resume win for them. Their zone was effective. We missed all 12 of our three-point shots in the second half. Some of them were 30-footers and were contested. They weren’t the three-pointers that we’ve been getting. They did a good job with their length, closing up gaps, closing up areas.
“I just wish we had better ball movement, better threes and wish we could’ve taken it to the rack a little more and got them in foul trouble. We settled tonight and hopefully we learn from this. When we get up and have a team on the ropes like that we need to keep them on the ropes. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Connecticut Senior Shabazz Napier
“In the second half, we just had a terrible shooting display. We didn’t get it done in the second half and it kind of came down to the wire. I wasn’t able to knock down a shot. None of us were actually able to knock down a shot. I’m kind of upset the way I played in the second half, the way I ran my team in the second half. I really felt like this was going to be a good win for us, and I didn’t come through.
Connecticut Junior DeAndre Daniels
“We’re going to have nights when we’re not shooting very well. So, that’s when we have to do other things – pass, get easy layups, get to the free throw line – and that’s what we didn’t do tonight. They were pretty long so their zone was pretty long. We just settled. We just settled too much in the second half and shot too many threes. Our ball movement was kind of off so we were holding the ball a lot. Next time we play against the zone, we need to work on swinging the ball and attacking the gaps.”