HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—Mixed among the Xs and Os, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun better include the diagram of a suitcase in his next chalk talk.
It’s been a while since the Huskies had to pack.
UConn wrapped up its opening 11-game homestand unbeaten, capping it off with an easy 84-41 victory over Coppin State on Wednesday night behind Jeff Adrien’s 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Now the 12th-ranked Huskies (11-0) will venture off on their first road trip to begin Big East Conference play at West Virginia on Saturday.
“I think we’re going to prove we’re pretty good when it’s all said and done,” Calhoun said. “But we’ve got places to go and certainly some people to play against.”
UConn will play just two of its next six games at home, with road games against the Mountaineers, No. 17 Louisiana State, St. John’s and No. 10 Pittsburgh.
For now, they have enjoyed the comforts of home, both at Gampel Pavilion on campus and the Hartford Civic Center. Wednesday’s win extended UConn’s home winning streak to 30 games.
The Huskies haven’t lost at home since falling to then-No. 2 North Carolina 77-70 on Feb. 13, 2005.
Adrien and 7-foot-3 freshman center Hasheem Thabeet anchored UConn’s dominant inside game as the Huskies pulled down a season-high 64 rebounds to the Eagles’ 33. Thabeet finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and had four of UConn’s 14 blocked shots. Freshman reserve center Jonathan Mandeldove made the most of his minutes in the middle, as well. He played just seven minutes near the end of the game and blocked a career-high five shots.
“We want to go out there and win all of our games,” Adrien said. “Win the Big East regular season and hopefully the Big East tournament. Our expectations are always high. It doesn’t matter how young we are.”
Calhoun’s young squad—three sophomores and two freshmen starters—breezed through this one, much like they did the first 10 games. They have won by an average of 27 points and played just one opponent from a major conference, an 18-point win over Mississippi on Nov. 19.
“I can’t ask any more of them,” Calhoun said. “They’ve won them all.”
Their toughest challenge may have been their season-opener when the Huskies held off in-state rival Quinnipiac, 53-46. On Wednesday they held Coppin State to 21 percent shooting.
“We’re putting teams away the way we should put teams away,” UConn point guard A.J. Price said. “We’re anxious to go on the road and anxious to play some tough games. By no means do I think any team was taken lightly. We did a good job preparing for every game.”
Ethan Kennedy had 12 points, all in the first half, for Coppin State (2-10), which has lost 10 games on the road. Tywain McKee added 11 points for the Eagles and Darryl Roberts had 10.
The bigger, faster Huskies put this one away early, racing to 10-0 lead and holding the Eagles scoreless for the first 11:24. Coppin State missed their first 14 shots until Kennedy’s 3-pointer finally snapped the drought.
It was a frustrating night for McKee, who was averaging a team-leading 18.4 points coming into the game. He missed his first 16 shots and didn’t connect until five minutes into the second half.
The Huskies led 41-15 at halftime and opened the second with an 11-3 run.
Price finished with 10 points and eight assists for UConn. Craig Austrie and Jerome Dyson had 10 each for the Huskies and freshman forward Curtis Kelly scored a career-high 14 points, hitting five straight field goals in the closing minutes.
Thabeet, who earned his first double-double of his career, said his play and the chemistry with Adrien in the post improves with each game.
“It’s not easy, but we make it look easy,” said Thabeet, who is eager for the next challenge. “I’m ready to play. Wherever. Whenever.”