SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Ben Hansbrough scored 21 points and No. 14 Notre Dame survived a late surge by No. 8 Connecticut to beat the Huskies 73-70 on Tuesday night.
Kemba Walker, averaging 26.7 points entering the game, scored 19 to lead Connecticut (11-2, 1-2 Big East) but had his string of 11 straight games with at least 20 points snapped.
Walker, under tough defense from Hansbrough, shot just 8 for 23 but helped UConn rally from a late 11-point deficit to get within two in the closing seconds. Shabazz Napier added 18 for the Huskies.
Tim Abromaitis, who missed three free throws in the final seconds, added 19 points for the Irish (13-2, 2-1), who were without starting forward Carleton Scott because of a hamstring injury. Notre Dame is 10-0 at home this season.
Walker had only four points at halftime but quickly hit a jumper and a backdoor layup as UConn opened the second half with a 9-2 run and closed within three points.
With Notre Dame nursing a four-point lead, Walker tried to drive through traffic in the lane and his shot attempt was swatted away by Tyrone Nash. Notre Dame raced to the other end and Hansbrough was fouled, hitting one for a five-point lead. Minutes later Abromaitis hit a jumper, Hansbrough went right through the Huskies defense for a layup and then made a steal and scored on another drive, giving the Irish a 64-53 lead.
Walker's three-point play with 1:48 left got the Huskies within five points and they trailed by just four when Napier made two free throw with 1:11 to go.
After an Irish turnover, Walker was fouled with 22 seconds to go and hit both to cut the once-seemingly comfortable lead to two.
Abromaitis hit the first of two free throws, making it a three-point game, with just under 20 seconds remaining. Walker then missed a tying 3-point attempt and Nash hit two from the line with 12.5 seconds left to make it 73-68.
Napier's two free throws cut it back to three with 10.6 seconds to go. And after Abromaitis missed two from the line, Napier's long 3-point attempt with about 2 seconds left missed badly.
The Irish led 38-30 at halftime when Abromaitis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Scott is averaging 11.9 points and 6.4 rebounds while leading the team in blocked shots. He had started 23 straight games and was hurt late in Saturday's loss to Syracuse.