UConn 57, Harvard 49

Connecticut's DeAndre Daniels goes to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Harvard in Storrs, Conn., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Connecticut’s DeAndre Daniels goes to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Harvard in Storrs, Conn., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — The UConn men’s basketball team was looking for a third scorer for go with Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.

What they got from DeAndre Daniels on Friday night against Harvard was much more than that.

Daniels scored a career-high 23 points and Boatright added 16 as UConn went into its break for exams with a grinding 57-49 win over Harvard at Gampel Pavilion.

“He’s a player,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said of Daniels. “He has to have confidence to take it to the rim and be aggressive. He decided to play today…we will need that coming up in Big East play and coming up after the break. Our margin of error is so little.”

Daniels was 9 of 12 shooting overall and 2 of 5 from 3-point range as he showed a versatile offensive game that was under control. The sophomore forward had 14 points in the previous two games but scored early on with 15 first half points.  The Huskies (7-2) began the game with a 15-2 run sparked by Daniels.

“Daniels played an outstanding offensive game,”  Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “We were trying to find ways to stop him.

“It was a tough matchup for us. He seems to be a versatile player. They wanted to get more from him and he delivered tonight.”

That allowed for leading scorer Napier to take the night off from scoring. Napier played the role of facilitator on Friday and didn’t score his first hoop until a 3-pointer late in the second half. Napier found other ways to make an impact stuffing the stat sheet with 6 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals with only one turnover. Napier was the catalyst in the second half as UConn turned a precarious 33-32 lead to a 52-39 advantage keying a 19-7 run over 11 minutes to take a commanding lead with 3:10 left.

Boatright bounced back from a tough shooting night against N.C. State on Tuesday to scored 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting  with three assists and a turnover.

Wesley Saunders led Harvard with 14 points.

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