STORRS, Conn. - Jerome Dyson scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Connecticut hung on to beat Northeastern, 59-57, last night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Dyson, who scored a total of 18 points in his previous three games, had 11 of UConn's final 13 points to bring his team back from a six-point deficit. His free throws with 53 seconds left provided the winning margin and snapped a four-game losing streak.
"I didn't want it to go down and end like that," Dyson said. "I just tried to be more aggressive."
UConn's Kemba Walker had a chance to ice the game, but missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final minute.
Baptiste Bataille's three-point attempt, which would have won the game for Northeastern at the buzzer, fell short.
"We did a good job following our game plan and we still had a shot in the last seconds," Bataille said. "It was a little unfortunate but we're happy with the effort."
Matt Janning scored 17 points for Northeastern (20-13), which finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association. Manny Adako added 14 points.
Connecticut (18-15), a perennial power in the Big East having a down season, advances to play the winner of tonight's game between Quinnipiac and top-seeded Virginia Tech.
Trailing 55-50 with just under five minutes left, UConn went to a press and denied Janning the ball. Northeastern missed four of its final five shots.
Northeastern jumped to a 10-2 lead on one of Janning's four treys. But Connecticut took over from there, outscoring Northeastern 32-16 the rest of the half. UConn dominated in the paint and led 34-26 at halftime.