No. 4 UConn beats Maine 80-60 to improve to 3-0By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press Friday, Nov 18, 2011
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—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 wakeup call.”
The Huskies responded with a 23-2 run and held the Black Bears without a field goal for the first 10 1/2 minutes after intermission.
“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 offensive end.
UConn extended the longest winning streak in Division I to 14 games and also won its 36th consecutive non-conference 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 non-conference 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.
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 pre-season All-America East player, who missed the game because of a knee injury.
Singleton had nine points for the Black Bears, and Kilian Cato and Andrew Rogers chipped in eight apiece. Cato’s points all came before halftime and he fouled out with 5:27 left.