HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut has won its first three games
by an average of more than 18 points. Now coach Jim Calhoun would
like to see his Huskies add some desire to the mix.
"I just haven't seen the enthusiasm with this particular group,
particularly when there's eight kids back from a team that had the
ultimate experience last year of success," a disappointed Calhoun
said after the Huskies routed Maine 80-60 on Thursday night.
Calhoun complained of a lack of energy, despite having five
Huskies score in double figures.
Alex Oriakhi had 16 points and eight rebounds, Jeremy Lamb also
scored 16 points, and freshman DeAndre Daniels added 15 for UConn
(3-0). Andre Drummond and Tyler Olander both chipped in with
double-doubles. Drummond had 11 points and 14 rebounds, while
Olander had 11 points and 10 boards.
But Maine kept it close through the first half, and Calhoun
called a timeout to take Lamb out of the game 5 seconds into the
second half after his star guard walked the ball across half court.
"It woke us up," Lamb said. "So, I guess it was a good wake-up
The Huskies responded with a 23-2 run and held the Black Bears
without a field goal for the first 10½ minutes after
"That is something we can build on, but we've got to work,"
Lamb said. "We need to focus."
The Huskies outrebounded Maine 57-28, including 34-17 on the
UConn extended the longest winning streak in Division I to 14
games and also won its 36th consecutive nonconference game.
Connecticut jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Maine responded with a
7-0 run of its own before Daniels, who got his first start, hit a
reverse layup and a 3-pointer.
Daniels had 11 points in the half and UConn never trailed, but
the Huskies could not shake the Black Bears, who tied the game four
times and trailed 36-31 at the half.
"It definitely gave us a lot of confidence," said Justin
Edwards, who had 20 points for the Black Bears (1-1). "We know
once we all play together and play tough, we can play with anyone
in the country. That's definitely a confidence booster."
UConn turned up the defense after the timeout.
A 3-pointer by Shabazz Napier gave UConn its first double-digit
lead at 42-31. That was just the start of the Huskies' run. The
Black Bears didn't get a field goal until Raheem Singleton hit an
off-balance layup with 9:34 left in the game.
Drummond had four blocks, three in his first 5 minutes of
action, and changed several other shots in the lane. Calhoun
suggested Drummond may make his way into the starting lineup soon,
but that's not something the 6-foot-10 freshman is worried about.
"I think I'm making a lot of progress, because I'm getting more
comfortable with the guys," he said. "It doesn't really matter to
me if I start. I could start the game, finish the game, as long as
I get out there and do what I'm supposed to do to help us win,
that's what matters."
Napier left the game with 9:25 remaining and the contest no
longer in doubt because of what the coach called a twisted ankle.
The 14-game winning streak is tied for the fourth-longest in
school history. The program's longest winning streak is 23 games,
set during the 1995-96 season.
The Huskies haven't lost a nonconference game at home since
January 2007 against Indiana in Hartford.
The game was the 300th
for UConn at its off-campus home court in Hartford. The Huskies
improved to 219-81 in games at what is now the XL Center.
The win moved Calhoun into a temporary tie for sixth place on
the all-time list with friend Jim Boeheim, who could reclaim the
spot on Saturday, when No. 5 Syracuse plays Colgate.
UConn faces Coppin State at home on Sunday before heading to the
Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Calhoun is now 15-0 against teams coached by one of his former
assistants. Ted Woodward coached at UConn under Calhoun from
1986-1989 and is now 0-3 against his former boss.
Connecticut played its third consecutive game without freshman
point guard Ryan Boatright, who is awaiting an eligibility decision
from the NCAA, reportedly having to do with the purchase of a plane
ticket while he was playing AAU basketball.
Maine had to play without its top scorer, Gerald McLemore, a
preseason All-America East player, who missed the game because of
a knee injury.