- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - UConn’s Shabazz Napier and Niels Giffey made their senior night one to remember.

Napier scored 26 points and Giffey added a career high 16 points in their final home game to lead 19th-ranked UConn (24-6, 12-5 American Athletic Conference) to a 69-63 win over Rutgers on Wednesday night.

Napier made a career-high seven 3-pointers and hit eight of his 13 shots from the floor. Giffey was 4 of 7 from behind the arc.

“We’re the captains on this team, so who else is going step up?” said Giffey. “As a senior, you’ve got to work with those emotions. We were so pumped up and hyped up for this game, it was just easier to play for us, I guess.”

Myles Mack scored 16 points for Rutgers (11-19, 5-12), which hasn’t beaten the Huskies in Storrs since 1972. Wally Judge added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Connecticut led by three points at halftime and by 11 points in the second half after an 8-0 run. Two dunks by Philip Nolan made it 64-53 UConn and forced Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan to call a timeout.

But the Scarlet Knights began chipping away at the lead, and cut the lead to 67-63 when Kadeem Jack stepped in front of a DeAndre Daniels pass and made a dunk at the other end with a minute left in the game.

Daniels redeemed himself seconds later when he blocked a layup attempt by Judge and hit a free throw on the other end. Nolan then drew a charge on the baseline, and Napier sealed the game from the foul line as the fans chanted “M-V-P.”

The Huskies won despite scoring just three points in the final four minutes, after failing to get a field goal in the final 7 ½ minutes in a win over Cincinnati on Saturday.

“Offensively, we’ve got to figure it out when it comes down the stretch,” Napier said. “But I cannot stress enough that defense is going to help us win games.”

UConn shot 47 percent from the field, while Rutgers hit on 44 percent, after making just one of their first nine shots, as the Huskies jumped out to an early 10-3 lead. Rutgers got hot after that, scoring the next eight points to take the lead.

The crowd got into the game after Amida Brimah, the Huskies 7-foot freshman, blocked a shot into the first row, and another off the backboard, forcing a shot-clock violation on Rutgers. That sparked an 8-2 run that gave UConn a 27-20 advantage.

The teams started trading 3-pointers, hitting 14 of them before intermission. Mack hit all three of his shots from behind the arc for Rutgers.

Napier made 4 of 6 and Giffey was 3 of 6, helping UConn to a 34-31 lead at halftime.

“We wanted to have a 3-point contest,” Napier joked.

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