STORRS, Conn. (AP)—The Connecticut Huskies are making the most of an extended stay at home to start the season.
A.J. Price scored 20 points, Hasheem Thabeet tied a Connecticut record with 10 blocked shots and the 20th-ranked Huskies blew out Texas Southern 106-55 Sunday to win their 26th straight home game.
The Huskies open the season with 11 games in either Storrs or Hartford, none against a Big East or Top 25 team.
“We as a coaching staff have got to keep them, hopefully, in reality,” coach Jim Calhoun said. “Today you didn’t beat Carolina or Pittsburgh or Rutgers or anyone else. You beat Texas Southern, who we are fortunate enough to have better players than, on our home court, and we did a good job defensively.”
Thabeet, the Huskies’ 7-foot-3 center, tied the blocks record held by Donyell Marshall and Emeka Okafor. He also had seven points and four rebounds.
“I can see everyday, I play better defense,” said Thabeet, a freshman from Tanzania, who has been playing organized basketball for just three years. “I belong here is what I am thinking, playing defense, playing hard.”
Four other Huskies scored in double figures. Jerome Dyson had 19 points, Doug Wiggins had 17 and Marcus Johnson and Jeff Adrien each had 11. Adrien added nine rebounds for UConn. Price also had seven assists.
“He knows when to feed guys and when not to,” Calhoun said of Price, a sophomore point guard. “I just thought he looked like he had some spring and he played with a lot of energy.”
Leonta Matthews had 10 points to lead Texas Southern (2-6).
The Tigers couldn’t stay with the quicker and taller Huskies, and resorted to fouling early and often. Texas Southern had 30 fouls, 18 in the first half, and three more before anyone had scored in the second half. UConn made 23 free throws before halftime and finished 28-for-38 from the line.
The Huskies led 58-28 at the half after Marcus Johnson dunked off a lob pass from Price.
The Tigers have played a tough schedule so far, losing at Oklahoma State, Baylor, No. 6 Alabama and Texas.
“You have to worry about that and find out what that does to your ballclub in the long run,” coach Ronnie Courtney said. “At this moment now, we still got another one to play, so we can’t sit here and worry about it, we’ve just got to keep playing basketball and hopefully we’ll get out of this thing uninjured and go to conference play and get some conference wins.”
UConn held Texas Southern to 35.6 percent shooting.
Connecticut hosts Northeastern, St. Mary’s, Pepperdine and Coppin State before playing its first road game at West Virginia on Dec. 30.
“I’m ready for it,” Dyson said. “I just want to see where we are at as a team, and how we can stand up against the better teams. We really haven’t seen a team that compares to us, so I’m anxious for it.”