SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The problem wasn't Notre Dame's start with the 11 a.m. local time tip-off. It was the Irish offense never really arriving at all against Connecticut on Saturday.

Notre Dame simply couldn't make enough big shots when it needed to in the second half at Purcell Pavilion, and the Huskies bludgeoned their hosts into submission with a 67-53 win that ended the Irish's 29-game home win streak.

It was the second time in three years that Connecticut clipped a long stretch of success at home for Notre Dame, after the Huskies ended a 45-game home win streak in Jan. 2009. This time, a dearth of consistent offense from anyone doomed the Irish after halftime.

The Irish shot 32.3 percent overall and shot just 1-of-15 from 3-point range after halftime after hitting five in the first half, which was enough to make it a one-point intermission lead for Notre Dame.

But Connecticut grinded the Irish down, and a 13-4 burst created a 42-33 lead with 10 minutes to play. At that point, Notre Dame showed some life, scoring five straight points to get the home crowd to its feet at last.

And then the Irish disappeared. Notre Dame went scoreless for the next 5 minutes 5 seconds and mustered just one bucket over a span of more than seven minutes, with Connecticut compiling a 16-2 run capped by an Andre Drummond dunk. That opened an 18-point lead with a little more than two minutes remaining and evacuated all drama from the proceedings.

Eric Atkins led Notre Dame with 20 points and Scott Martin added 12, but they were the only Irish players in double figures. Shabazz Napier led Connecticut with 16 points, Alex Oriakhi added 12 and Andre Drummond posted 10 points and 13 rebounds.

bchamilton@tribune.com

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