- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut wanted to show Houston it was a better team than the one that lost to the Cougars in Texas on New Year’s Eve.

Shabazz Napier scored 19 points and Ryan Boatright added 15 as UConn routed the Cougars 80-43 in the rematch Thursday night.

“They ruined my New Year, now we just ruined their Chinese New Year,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie.

Philip Nolan and Niels Giffey each added 10 points for the Huskies (17-4, 5-3 American Athletic Conference), who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Danrad Knowles had 10 points and eight rebounds to lead Houston (11-10, 3-5), which has lost five of its last six.

Connecticut was ranked 17th in the nation when it lost at Houston 75-71 on New Year’s Eve in the conference opener for both teams. The Huskies fell behind by 21 points in the first half of that game.

UConn flipped the script in this one.

Connecticut jumped out to an early 18-3 lead and never looked back. Houston didn’t get a point until a jumper by L.J. Rose, 3 minutes into the game.

A three-point play by little-used freshman Kentan Facey put the Huskies up by 21 points, 31-9. A 3-pointer by Ryan Boatright just before the halftime buzzer gave the Huskies a 51-22 lead at the break.

“From there, they could never get their rhythm back,” Boatright said. “We knew we couldn’t come out like we did in Houston.”

Boatright opened the second half with another 3 to give UConn a 32-point lead and Houston never really challenged the Huskies in the second half.

UConn led by 40 when reserve Leon Tolksdorf hit a 3-pointer with 4 minutes left.

“We knew they would be ready, but you’ve got to have a greater energy level than we displayed,” said Houston coach James Dickey.

Nolan, who came into the game averaging 3.5 points, had all 10 of his points in the first half, when the Huskies hit 54 percent of their shots.

They shot 43 percent for the game, while holding the Cougars to 27 percent. UConn also outrebounded Houston 55-40 despite being without their top rebounder, DeAndre Daniels.

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