Connecticut went into a hostile environment and defeated a ranked opponent to end the nation’s longest home winning streak its last time out. The atmosphere shouldn’t be nearly as intense when the Huskies take the court Wednesday.
Coming off another impressive victory, the second-ranked Huskies look to avoid a letdown when they visit woeful DePaul, which is seeking its first Big East win of the season.
Connecticut (18-1, 7-1) moved back to No. 2 in the AP poll with Saturday’s 69-61 win at then-No. 19 Notre Dame, ending the Irish’s 45-game home winning streak. The Huskies also kept Notre Dame from setting the Big East record with a 21st straight league victory at home.
UConn senior Jeff Adrien had said earlier in the week the Huskies would be the team to end the Irish’s run in South Bend.
“This is our gym right now and you guys should be quiet,” Adrien said after recording 12 points and 19 rebounds in the win.
While the Huskies knocked off a team that hadn’t lost at home in nearly three years, DePaul (8-12, 0-7) has dropped six straight Big East home games since a 69-61 win over South Florida last season.
The Blue Demons are struggling to create any kind of home-court advantage, as they’ve averaged 8,367 fans in the 18,500-seat Allstate Arena in their three conference home games this season.
UConn lost 66-58 in its last trip to Allstate on Jan. 31, 2007, but the Huskies were in the midst of an uncharacteristic season. UConn finished 2006-07 in 12th place in the Big East, while DePaul finished ninth.
This season has yielded much more familiar results for the Huskies, whom many picked to win the Big East. UConn again looked like a national title contender with its performance Saturday.
The Huskies, winners of seven straight since losing their Big East opener to then-No. 11 Georgetown, held the Irish to a season-low 32.9 percent shooting and outrebounded them 54-44.
“We went out there and we executed,” said guard A.J. Price, who finished with 13 points. “We played defense, we got stops, we got rebounds and we ran. We did everything we wanted to do and played Connecticut basketball.”
Hasheem Thabeet had nine points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and the 7-foot-3 center forced Notre Dame to alter numerous shots.
Adrien posted his fifth straight double-double Saturday. He’s totaled 22 points and 22 rebounds in two career games against DePaul.
UConn beat the Blue Demons 65-60 on Feb. 19 behind Thabeet’s 16 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks.
DePaul lost 79-70 at then-No. 11 Marquette on Saturday and is off to its worst league start since opening 0-12 in 1995-96, when it was in Conference USA.
The Blue Demons, picked to finish 15th in the 16-team Big East, are struggling on both ends of the court. They’re 14th in the conference in scoring at 67.3 points per game and 13th in scoring defense at 69.9.
Dar Tucker had 18 points Saturday, but shot 5-of-13 and has made 38.5 percent or less from the field in three of his last four games. Tucker, sixth in the Big East with 18.6 points a contest, scored two points on 1-for-8 shooting in last season’s loss to UConn.
The Blue Demons have dropped 10 straight against ranked opponents since a 84-76 victory over then-No. 17 Villanova on Jan. 3, 2008.