Houston celebrated a 75-71win over visiting UConn on New Year's Eve. The Huskies will look to avenge that loss tonight. (USA Today Sports)

STORRS – UConn has its first rematch game of the season, its first chance to settle a score.

Regrettable, but not forgettable — the memories of New Year's Eve in Houston linger.

"More energy, more intensity, more attention to details," Ryan Boatright said. "That whole game, it was just a terrible game all around. You see, we cut a 21-point lead in four minutes, so if we come out and play UConn basketball from the jump, we should be all right."

The Huskies lost their first American Athletic Conference game 75-71 at Houston, which was missing two starters. UConn fell 21 points behind in the first half, coach Kevin Ollie shattered a clipboard and, although the Huskies took the lead with a second-half torrent, the Cougars made the big shots down the stretch to win.

A month later, Houston, closer to full strength, comes to Gampel Pavilion and the Huskies must be ready for TaShawn Thomas and the fastbreak, that old-time Cougars signature. Houston scored 15 fastbreak points, tied for the most the Huskies have allowed this season.

"We didn't come out with that intensity and attention to detail and they ran the ball," Ollie said after practice Wednesday. "And they got out on the break. We weren't disciplined in our defensive sets and they took advantage of it. That's what a good team does."

Shabazz Napier, who scored 25 in the second half against Houston, and UConn (16-4, 4-3 in the AAC) hope to climb back into the rankings, improve their tournament resume and make a run at league leaders Cincinnati and Louisville. The Huskies might have to win it without one of their best players – DeAndre Daniels, who sustained a high right ankle sprain at Rutgers on Saturday and has not yet practiced this week.

UConn's medical staff will evaluate Daniels before the shootaround Thursday around 4 p.m. "If we hold him out of the shootaround, we'll probably sit him out," Ollie said. "But he's healing very well."

Omar Calhoun, who missed the Rutgers game with a sprained left ankle, will be available, Ollie said. With Daniels out or limited, it could be an opportunity for Calhoun to earn his way back to a significant role.

"He has been working his butt off and that's what I'm most proud of," Ollie said. "He's coming in each and every day and practicing full speed, and that's why I think there's going to be a breakthrough real soon."

Thomas, who averages 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, hurt UConn with 23 points and eight rebounds. "We're going to have to do it by committee, keep him off the backboard, limit his transition buckets and play solid defense against him," Ollie said.

Houston will have its top point guard, L.J. Rose, back for this game, and Danuel House, who averages 13.7 points, has recovered from the knee injury that kept him out Dec. 31.

Jherrod Stiggers and Danrad Knowles, two others who played well against UConn, will come off the bench for the Cougars (11-9, 3-4).

Houston has been all over the map, beating UConn by four and Rutgers by 22, losing by one to Cincinnati yet losing by 39 to Louisville, 13 to Memphis and eight at home against Southern Methodist. The one thing the Huskies can expect is for Houston to try to run again.

"We know they're a good fastbreak team," Lasan Kromah said. "We worked on transition defense, keeping the ball in front of us. We had too many guys going in for rebounds and not enough getting back on defense."

UConn is 10-0 when they outrebound opponents, and they have outrebounded five of their past six opponents.

"We need to get back with three guys instead of crashing the boards on the offensive end," Niels Giffey said. "That's going to help us keep them in a half-court game, and get a chance to rebound the ball."