For the first time this season, Jim Calhoun will see how Connecticut responds to a loss.
After opening Big East play with a loss to a Top 10 rival, the fourth-ranked Huskies look to bounce while trying to avenge last season's defeat to visiting South Florida on Friday night in Hartford, Conn.UConn's surprising undefeated run ended with a 78-63 loss at sixth-ranked Pittsburgh on Monday. The setback also might serve as a wake-up call for the Huskies (10-1), who shot a season-low 31.7 percent and committed 15 turnovers."We lost some of the swagger that we needed to have to win the game," Calhoun said. "This is one game out of 18 (conference games)."It's one that Calhoun would like his team to forget, but still manage to learn from, especially from an intensity standpoint.UConn trailed by as many as 17 and had only two scorers with more than five points until the closing minutes as Pitt limited the Huskies to a single shot in a possession."Team wise we need to be tougher," Calhoun said. "We need to be mentally tougher. That's the whole game. The game is about willing."Star guard Kemba Walker (26.9 points per game) scored 31, but missed 17 of 27 shots.Despite a poor shooting night, Walker topped 30 points for the fifth time this season. However, the eight Huskies other than Walker who took shots missed 24 of 33.Walker scored 18 points when South Florida added to UConn's disappointing 2009-10 season with a 75-68 home win Feb. 21 -- their first victory in eight tries against the Huskies.While Walker looks for a better effort against South Florida, Calhoun hopes 6-foot-9 sophomore Alex Oriakhi (11.0 points, 9.1 rebounds per game) can bounce back after being held to eight points and one board in a season-low 19 minutes versus Pitt."I don't know if he was better sitting or playing," Calhoun said. "He's not the player right now I think he can be."The Huskies will try to avoid losing their Big East home opener for the second time in three seasons.While Monday's loss and last season's defeat at South Florida could provide enough motivation to prevent UConn from allowing that to happen, the Bulls' struggles on the road this season also could help the Huskies bounce back.South Florida (6-8) has averaged 53.8 points on 39.2 percent shooting -- including 19.1 percent from 3-point range -- while going 0-5 on the road.The Bulls shot 40.4 percent and went 1 for 10 from beyond the arc in a 64-55 loss at Seton Hall on Tuesday to open Big East play with a third straight loss.Leading scorer Augustus Gilchrist (10.9 ppg) has scored 12 points in each of his last two games since missing three due to some "philosophical differences" with the team. The junior forward had 17 points against UConn last season.