HARTFORD, Conn. — Playing for the second time in three days without two key players, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun implored his remaining Huskies to find ways to rest on the court.

For this game, he said, it was OK to put hands on knees during foul shots or relax for a moment in a zone defense.

A.J. Price scored 20 points and Connecticut found enough in the tank to hold off Louisville, 69-67.

“We were trying to coach them every way possible to try and have them conserve as much energy as we can,” Calhoun said. “I didn’t know who could play five minutes at the five minute mark.”

The win is the fourth in a row for the Huskies (15-5, 5-3) and snaps the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.

Juan Palacios, who missed a 3-pointer that would have won the game, led Louisville (15-6, 5-3) with 16. But he was just 3-of-9 from behind the arc, and Terrence Williams hit just 2-of-eight. The Cardinals hit just 11 of 33 attempts as a team.

“We had a lot of shots that were right there, and if you can’t make this 3-point shot in college, you’re in trouble,” coach Rick Pitino said.

Stanley Robinson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for UConn and Jeff Adrien also had a double-double, with 12 points and 10 boards.

The Huskies were playing their fourth game in eight days, and their second straight without leading scorer Jerome Dyson and guard Doug Wiggins. The two 20-year-old sophomores were suspended indefinitely from the team Friday after campus police ticketed them for having alcohol.

With the shortened bench, four UConn starters played over 30 minutes, and the Huskies seemed to run low on gas midway through the second half.

Trailing 58-48, the Cardinals went 13-3 run, and after Robinson hit the front rim on a 3-point attempt, Terrence Williams tied the game at 61, hitting a 3 from the right baseline.

But A.J. Price hit two shots, including a wild runner in the lane, and an ally-oop dunk from 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet with 2:06 left gave the Huskies a 67-63 lead.

After David Padgett hit a free throw, Craig Austrie was fouled by Preston Knowles and hit both foul shots for UConn.

A 3-pointer by Jerry Smith with 36 seconds left pulled Louisville within two.

The Cardinals then tied up Austrie in the frontcourt with 23 seconds left, giving Louisville the final possession. But Palacios’ shot from the top of the key missed badly and Thabeet tipped the ball away as time ran out.

Robinson, who played 36 minutes, said he was cramping up for much of the second half, even though the Huskies had switched from their trademark man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone for much of the game.

“When it came to the point where I couldn’t walk on the court, I had to get a minute (on the bench),” Robinson said.

Louisville, which has held 11 opponents under 40 percent shooting, kept Connecticut scoreless for more than four minutes to start the game, and was up 10-2 early. But the Huskies responded with an 8-0 run.

The teams went into halftime tied at 30.

In the second half, the Huskies led 41-40, before going on a 17-8 spurt. The run was sparked by a 3-point play on a fast break that saw Thabeet out-jump 6-9 Derrick Caracter and throw the ball in the basket despite a hard foul.

“We work too hard not to win games,” Thabeet said. “We’re going to keep working hard and make sure we win the games that are winnable.”

Calhoun said he has not decided the fate of Wiggins and Dyson, but would have more to say before Connecticut hosts No. 18 Pitt on Saturday.

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