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  Sunday, Jan. 30 3:00pm ET
Huskies hold off determined Pirates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Seton Hall was riding a three-game winning streak when it ran into a somewhat lame, but very game No. 6 Connecticut on Sunday.

The Huskies (15-4, 4-3 Big East) rallied behind scoring leader Khalid El-Amin, who had been nursing a deep thigh bruise, to beat the Pirates 66-56. El-Amin said by Sunday morning he wasn't sure if he could play.

Kevin Freeman
Seton Hall's Greg Morton gets tangled up with UConn's Kevin Freeman, center, and Jake Voskuhl on Sunday.
"I just wanted to go ahead and give it a shot," said El-Amin, who led the Huskies with 16 points. "I was able to run, I was able to compete and I wanted to come out here and play."

The junior point guard leads the team with 17 points per game. He injured his right leg three days ago in the win against Providence and has practiced only lightly since.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun said he could tell from the shootaround that El-Amin was up to the task.

"His juices were flowing," Calhoun said. "He was more than ready to play."

Seton Hall (13-4, 5-2 Big East) kept it close early behind the 3-point shooting of sophomore guard Darius Lane and post defense of 6-foot-11 freshman center Samuel Dalembert.

Lane was 5-of-5 from 3-point range in the opening period. After UConn (15-4, 4-3) began the game with baskets by Edmund Saunders and Jake Voskuhl, Lane went to work from long range. He scored 11 points in the Pirates' 16-4 run over a four-minute span to stake Seton Hall to a 16-13 lead.

Dalembert had five blocks in the first half, two more than the entire UConn squad in the period.

The Huskies regained the lead for good on a 12-8 run, fueled by El-Amin's six points. Albert Mouring's 3-pointer with 8:35 left capped the spurt to give UConn a 25-24 lead. The Huskies took a 36-32 lead at the break.

El-Amin sparked a 10-4 run to open the second half. UConn led 58-43 with 6:17 left to play on El-Amin's 3-pointer. Seton Hall would get no closer than seven points thereafter. El Amin also had a team-high five assists.

Calhoun said El-Amin's determination was contagious.

"I thought our mindset was real good," Calhoun said. "In a game of wills like that we got the edge."

UConn's smothering defense gave Lane few looks in the second half, allowing him only four points in the period. Lane finished with a team-high 21. Ty Shine had 14 for the Pirates.

"They weren't allowing our guys to get good looks," said Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker. "We need to be quicker and faster to offset what we will face in powerful teams."

The Huskies won the battle of the boards, 39-31, led by Souleymane Wane's nine. Voskuhl had 11 points before suffering a cut on his head when he took an elbow from Dalembert as they battled for a rebound with 1:07 left.


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 Khalid El-Amin pulls up for the pump-fake jumper.
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 Souleymane Wane gets the rebound and the bucket.
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