Fairfield gave #8 UConn a scare in the second half, but UConn had just enough behind the inspired play of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. After leading by as many as 22 points in the second half, the Huskies lead was cut to three points with 2:23 to go before UConn (10-1) put the game away in a 79-71 victory.
Napier helped the Huskies win their fifth-straight game with a game-high 24 points. The sophomore guard added six rebounds, five assists and was red-hot shooting. He hit 7-of-10 field goal attempts and hit eight of his nine free throw attempts.
Backcourt mate Jeremy Lamb added 18 points and Andre Drummond added 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks. The slightly less heralded Boatright scored five of the team's final seven points and assisted on the other basket, as UConn moved to 118-4 against New England teams not in the Big East.
Redshirt senior Rakim Sanders led the Stags with 20 points and seven rebounds. Sean Crawford knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points to join Sanders in double figures.
UConn held a 57-35 lead with 13:22 remaining but the Stags slowly began to chip away at the lead. Seven 3-pointers helped Fairfield (7-5) get back into the game as the Stags hit 12 overall for the game to stick with the Huskies. After cutting the deficit to single digits fairly easily with an 18-4 run, the Stags showed some true grit over the next five minutes to cut the deficit to three.
That's when Boatright went to work. With UConn leading 72-69 with 2:23 remaining, Boatright knocked down a 3-pointer, found Lamb for a dunk and then hit two free throws for a quick 7-0 run to put the game away.
The Huskies will be without head coach Jim Calhoun for the next three games, as he serves out his suspension for NCAA recruiting violations. First up, UConn's Big East opener at South Florida next Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EDT. Assistant coach George Blaney will be the bench boss for the three games.