HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- There's no stat for smiles, but
Connecticut had plenty to go around Thursday night.
The 11th-ranked Huskies were a regular fun bunch, cruising to a
123-71 win over instate rival Quinnipiac. Josh Boone led UConn
(8-1) with a career-high 22 points and eight blocks.
"We're really starting to flow as a team. We're really starting
to have some fun out there and that's what the main thing is,"
Boone said. "We play a lot better when we're actually having
Coach Jim Calhoun wanted more enthusiasm from his players after
a lackluster win over Sacred Heart two nights earlier. His message
"Their attitude was the thing that made me feel the best,"
Calhoun said. "To see them really enjoying playing with each
other, I'll have a better feeling driving home tonight knowing they
enjoyed playing basketball."
Boone dominated inside for the Huskies, who had eight players in
double figures and scored 72 points in the paint. The sophomore
center also finished with 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double
of the season.
The 123 points were the most UConn has scored in the Hartford
Civic Center in 251 games.
The overmatched Bobcats (4-5) became the latest instate rival to
fall to the reigning NCAA champs. The Huskies have won the last 57
meetings with instate foes and extended their series lead over
Quinnipiac to 6-0.
"They beat us every which way but loose," Quinnipiac coach Joe
DeSantis said. "They just overwhelmed us. That happens. They're a
great team. You just move on."
Boone had plenty of help inside as Charlie Villanueva had 17
points and a career-tying 13 rebounds, and the Huskies outrebounded
Quinnipiac 60-30. Hilton Armstrong finished with 11 points and six
The bigger and faster Huskies got to the line 44 times, hitting
UConn guard Marcus Williams had 10 points and 10 assists for his
first double-double. He and backcourt mate Antonio Kellogg combined
to shut down Rob Monroe, the Bobcats' leading scorer. Monroe
finished with 16 points, four below his average and got half of
them in the closing minutes of the game.
C.J. Vick added 12 for Quinnipiac, which has played seven of its
first nine games on the road.
Villanueva finished with his first double-double of the year and
clearly enjoyed getting it.
"The more I smile the better I feel," he said. "Everybody is
just having fun. Basketball is a fun game. We just need to show
enthusiasm and passion and we can definitely do it."
Boone was a perfect 6-for-6 in the first half, getting most of
his points from putbacks and offensive rebounds. He also had five
blocks and six boards in the period.
The Huskies roared back from an early 8-2 deficit with
transition offense and easily outscored the Bobcats 38-12 the paint
to lead 56-31 at the break.
The last loss to an instate rival was a 49-48 defeat to Hartford
during Calhoun's first season in 1986.
Thursday's win was the Huskies' final tuneup before opening Big
East play against unbeaten Boston College on Wednesday. Calhoun
wants to see that passion present in the tougher conference games
and two nonconference games with Oklahoma and North Carolina.
"Hopefully we're going to carry over some of this. We'll be
playing teams equal to our size, but we still are a fairly big team
even in the Big East," Calhoun said. "We'll have more than our
work cut out for us."