No. 2 Connecticut routs Stony Brook 91-57
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—Connecticut forward Stanley Robinson returned to school this week, and it took him about 3 1/2 minutes of game action to feel back at home.
That’s when the 6-foot-9 junior forward grabbed a lob pass from Donnell Beverly and slammed home a dunk during the second-ranked Huskies’ 91-57 rout of Stony Brook on Monday night.
Robinson withdrew from Connecticut after last season to deal with some academic and personal issues, and spent the last five months laboring for a metal wholesale and recycling company in Willimantic, near the Storrs campus.
“I felt relief,” Robinson said of his return to the court. “I felt happy about everything and I felt that it’s good that I don’t have to go back and work five more months.”
Jeff Adrien had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies (9-0), who played their first game after an 11-day break for exams. It was the 36th career double-double for the senior forward, who was one of five Huskies in double figures.
Hasheem Thabeet had 18 points and nine rebounds, while Jerome Dyson added 16 points and Craig Austrie and A.J. Price had 13 each for UConn.
But coach Jim Calhoun was most impressed with Robinson, who averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds last season, and gives the Huskies depth they have lacked down low. He had seven points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
“I thought he was spectacular,” Calhoun said. “I don’t know how you do what he did, basically not touch an organized basketball since May, practice one day—the guy had one day of practice. We looked more versatile with him out there, and looked bigger.”
Danny Carter led Stony Brook (5-5) with 20 points, 14 in the first half. The Seawolves, who had been giving up just 55 points per game, used a weave on offense to try and slow the pace, but shot 32 percent from the field.
UConn, which played its first game since a 68-64 victory at Buffalo on Dec. 4, used a 20-2 second-half run to stretch a 12-point lead to 30.
“You pick your poison with Connecticut,” said Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell, a former UConn player and assistant coach. “If you play fast, that’s what they want you to do. If you slow it down though, you’ve got to make sure you finish plays at the end of the shot clock. If you don’t, it’s tough.”
Connecticut looked sluggish early and used 11 players in the game’s first 3 minutes. Nine minutes into the game the Huskies led 16-11.
“He took the whole starting five out. He thought we weren’t giving 100 percent,” Thabeet said. “So we had to go out, be mentally tough, and be ready to get back into the game. We went out there and got the job done.”
UConn went on a 19-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Austrie.
Carter hit two 3-pointers as Stony Brook made a push at the end of the half, closing within 44-30, and two 3-pointers by Bryan Dougher cut the lead to 53-41 early in the second half.
But the Huskies were able to get Stony Brook into a running game and stretched the lead back to 66-43 on a 3-pointer by Dyson from the right wing.
The Huskies led 73-43 midway through the second half.
The Huskies have won 134 of their last 135 home games played before January against opponents from outside the Big East.
The competition picks up later this week, when UConn travels to Seattle to face No. 7 Gonzaga on Saturday.
Robinson, who is paying his own way through UConn this semester, said he’s looking forward to that game, the Big East season, and anything that doesn’t involve lifting sheet metal.
He said it was a hard experience, but one that has left him more mature and better prepared for the future.
“It made me a man,” he said.