HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut was in no mood for a repeat.
Rudy Gay had 17 points and nine rebounds and the third-ranked
Huskies avenged last year's stunning upset at Massachusetts with a
78-60 victory on Thursday night.
Last season's buzzer-beating loss was coach Jim Calhoun's first
at UConn to the longtime New England rival. But a dominant UConn
post, Rashad Anderson's outside shooting and the athletic Gay were
too much for the Minutemen, who trail 69-39 in the series.
"It stuck in our minds last year when they beat us," Anderson
said. "That's a little bit of payback. Last year we came out a
Anderson, who finished with 15 points, was part of a deep UConn
bench that outscored the Minutemen reserves 32-8.
"Rashad makes the bench awfully good," Calhoun said. "The
bench has become something, I think, that will be a really great
Josh Boone had 10 rebounds and scored all of his 13 points in
the second half for the Huskies (7-0).
Rashaun Freeman, who hit the winning basket for the Minutemen
last season, had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Jeff Viggiano
added 17 points for UMass.
UConn quickly extended its nine-point halftime lead going inside
to Boone. His putback with 13:04 left sparked a 9-0 spurt that
featured a thunderous roundhouse dunk from Gay. It drew an ovation
from the crowd of 16,294 at the Hartford Civic Center and a timeout
from first-year UMass coach Travis Ford.
"We got beat by a much better team tonight," Ford said. "We
actually executed most of the things we wanted to do, we just
didn't make very many shots."
The Minutemen (2-3), who have lost three of four, were effective
at times in the halfcourt, but once the Huskies got their
transition game untracked, the Minutemen lost the foot race.
Gay took over in the second half, scoring 13 of his 17 points in
the period. The rangy forward got an earful from Calhoun in the
locker room at halftime and played inspired the rest of the way.
"It was just getting set in my mind that I'm going to be a
dominant player," Gay said. "In the first half I was a little
hesitant because I missed a couple of shots. But after that Coach
kept telling me to keep shooting. He always tells me `You have to
start the game like you end it."
As he's done all season, Anderson gave the Huskies the spark
they needed off the bench. The senior sharpshooter had eight points
in a 21-3 run early in the first half, including consecutive 3s.
Denham Brown's 3-pointer capped the run and the Huskies had a 23-10
With Boone in foul trouble, Huskies forward Ed Nelson dominated
inside. He had eight points, eight rebounds and a block in 16
minutes in the first half.
Viggiano and Freeman helped the Minutemen mount a charge late in
the half. Viggiano's 3-pointer cut the UConn lead to nine with 4:35
left. Freeman hit two straight baskets to get the Minutemen within
45-38 at the 3:05 mark. The Huskies regained the momentum after
Ford was called for a technical. Brown made both free throws and
the Huskies closed out the half on a 6-4 run to take a 41-32 lead.
"It's just great to have 10 people who can come in at any given
moment," Boone said. "There's not going to be many teams that
have 10 players deep. We're going to have to use everybody."