Published December 02. 2013 9:00PM Updated December 02. 2013 9:46PM
Storrs — Shabazz Napier hit a jumper from the free throw line as time expired to keep No. 12 UConn undefeated with a 65-64 victory over No. 15 Florida on Monday night.
Napier, limping on a left ankle he hurt during a four-point play with 33 seconds left, escaped a trap around 30 feet from the basket and got off a wild shot that missed but was tipped blindly back by DeAndre Daniels. Napier grabbed the ball and let go a left-handed jumper that went through as the horn sounded and set off a deafening cheer from the sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.
Napier finished with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting including making 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
The Huskies (8-0) and Florida (6-2), which had a five-game winning streak snapped, battled down the stretch exchanging the lead six times in the final 6 minutes.
Daniels had 14 points for Connecticut, which was outrebounded 34-26, but was able to make up a size difference with its strong guard play on the perimeter. This was Connecticut's first game this season against a ranked opponent. Florida's previous loss was in its only game against a ranked team, Wisconsin.
Casey Prather had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, while Patric Young had 17 points and seven rebounds. Scottie Wilbekin, playing in his third game of the season after being suspended for the first four, had 15 points but he injured an ankle with 3:01 to play, was taken to the locker room and never returned.
After Wilbekin left Young took over, scoring the Gators' next seven points, two baskets on his hook shot and another on an offensive rebound.
That made it 62-59 Florida with 1:18 to play.
Connecticut missed two 3-point attempts but got the rebound on both. Napier took a 25-foot jumper that swished and he was fouled by Dorian Finney-Smith. The joy of the crowd was tempered as Napier stayed on the court for about a minute, holding his left ankle.
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie called a timeout so Napier could stay in the game and take the free throw. He made it to give the Huskies a 63-62 lead with 33 seconds left.
Michael Frazier II, with Connecticut paying a lot of attention to Young inside, drove to the basket and scored with 17 seconds left to give the Gators a 64-63 lead.
The ball was in Napier's hands for the final shot and he finally did score after Daniels tipped the ball back to him.