- Associated Press - Friday, November 8, 2013

NEW YORK — Dez Wells took over down the stretch, had the ball for a final shot, and a Maryland comeback was a basket away.


Off the rim.

Out of chances, out of time, the Terrapins could only lament the wasted opportunities in the first half.

Shabazz Napier scored 18 points, Niels Giffey had 13 and No. 18 Connecticut survived Maryland’s second-half surge in a 78-77 victory Friday night.

Maryland nearly came all the way back from a 17-point deficit over the final minutes at Barclays Center in the season opener for both teams.

“This would have been a great win for us because I think Connecticut is going to win a lot of games,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.

Nick Faust scored five straight points on a layup and 3-pointer to bring the Terps within two with 2:28 left.

Tyler Olander drilled a 3 for UConn with 2 minutes left for the shot of the game to make it 78-73. Napier was whistled for his fifth foul and Wells made two free throws to cut it to 78-75. Wells hit a jumper out of a Maryland timeout and it was a one-point game.

UConn twice missed the front end of 1-and-1s.

Wells, who scored 10 points in the second half, missed twice on potential go-ahead shots.

“It comes with the territory,” Wells said. “If you don’t take last-second shots, people are going to say what they want to say about you. You just have to accept the role on this team.”

Faust led the Terps with 17 points. Wells, Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman all scored 13.

“We still have a lot to look forward to this season,” Wells said.

With former coach Jim Calhoun in attendance, UConn is set for a new beginning under second-year coach Kevin Ollie. The Huskies went 20-10 last season, but failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament because of poor academic progress rates that predated anyone on the current roster.

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