UConn rolls by Fairfield
Tough Huskies stay unbeaten
After winning a final tuneup for Big East play, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun is well aware of the obstacles that lie ahead for his undefeated team.
Jeff Adrien scored 21 points, Hasheem Thabeet had 20, and the second-ranked Huskies dominated down low against undersized Fairfield in a 75-55 victory last night in Hartford.
"I was really happy at certain things we did. I just don't like us not playing every single play, because you only get so many a year," Calhoun said. "We've had 11 chances to get it done, and we've done it, but we have 19 Big East games. I'm including Michigan as a Big East game because they're as good as anybody in our league. We have 19 wars starting on Monday and we better be prepared to put everybody together."
Adrien also grabbed 14 rebounds while Thabeet added 11 rebounds and six blocks for the Huskies (11-0), who have won 64 consecutive games against in-state opponents. Their last loss to a Connecticut team came against Hartford in 1986, Calhoun's first season as coach.
"When I was born, basically," Adrien said.
Calhoun was concerned his team might have a letdown after rallying for an overtime victory against Gonzaga last Saturday. He also worried that his players might look ahead to Monday's Big East opener against Georgetown.
But the Huskies, led by Thabeet, their 7-foot-3-inch center, shot 50 percent from the field and outscored Fairfield, 48-22, in the paint. Adrien and Thabeet combined to shoot 18 of 25 from the floor.
Greg Nero scored 16 points for the Stags (8-4), who had won seven straight. Fairfield shot 31.9 percent and had only five free throw attempts.
"I thought our frontcourt just got physically overwhelmed. That was the game," Fairfield coach Ed Cooley said.
Thabeet and Adrien combined to score 26 points in the first half and UConn overcame a slow start to take 42-26 lead at halftime.
"Jeff might have had his best game of the year," Calhoun said.
Adrien began an 8-0 spurt with a dunk, the first of 10 by the Huskies, to put them on top, 15-14, midway through the half. UConn never trailed after that.
Thabeet scored the next 6 points. He made a shot in the lane and excited the crowd of 13,771 with a one-handed, alley-oop dunk off a feed from Jerome Dyson. On UConn's next possession, Thabeet's lefthanded hook shot made it 21-14.
Dyson's 3-pointer started a 9-0 run that featured two dunks by Thabeet and one by Adrien that made it 32-18.
Florida Atlantic began playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2001 but has won both its postseason games.
The teams were tied, 10-10, midway through the third quarter when Smith hit Chris Bonner with a 52-yard scoring pass. Smith found Cortez Gent with an 18-yard strike early in the fourth to give the Owls a cushion.
The Chippewas cut the lead to 24-21 with three minutes to play when Dan LeFevour hit Antonio Brown with a touchdown pass, then Kito Poblah for a 2-point conversion. But Gent recovered the ensuing onside kick.