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Huskies trounce Seawolves as Big East looms

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Though the shots weren't falling as
easily for Connecticut as they had the past few games, the Huskies
were still able to put another rout in the books.

The second-ranked Huskies (10-0) were coming off a 129-point
performance against Morehead State, but were held to under 42
percent shooting for only the second time all season in an 85-52
victory over winless Stony Brook on Wednesday night.

Coach Jim Calhoun said the scrappy Seawolves (0-8) had a lot to
do with it and it was no surprise to him.

Stony Brook is coached by Steve Pikiell, Calhoun's former player
and assistant. Pikiell, the only two-time captain under the Hall of
Fame coach in his 20 years at UConn, helped lead the Huskies to
their first Big East title and first NIT championship (1988).

"Steve's kids played hard. They didn't play scared. He wanted
them to attack intelligently," Calhoun said. "Their multiple
defenses did hurt us. It was a Steve Pikiell-coached team."

But it was Calhoun's team that was faster, bigger and deeper and
the Seawolves had no answer for that, especially inside.

Hilton Armstrong had 11 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high
eight blocks for UConn. He, Ed Nelson and Josh Boone delivered a
dominating inside game for the Huskies, who outscored Stony Brook
44-28 in the paint.

"The big ones have to try and do their job and do what they're
supposed to do -- get as many rebounds as possible," Armstrong
said. "(Stony Brook) played with a lot of heart and a lot of
passion."

Nelson grabbed 13 rebounds, eight on the defensive end as UConn
closed with a 63-36 rebounding edge and scored 20 points on
second-chance baskets. Boone had 11 rebounds and four of UConn's 14
blocked shots.

Marcus Johnson and Rashad Anderson added 14 apiece for the
Huskies and Jeff Adrien, one of three freshmen in the starting
lineup, finished with a season-high 13 points. Johnson, also a
freshman, finished with a career-high five steals. The speedy wing
was making his third start and said he's gaining confidence with
each game.

"I still need to a lot of work on my jump shots and everything
else, but I think I'm improving. Coach is seeing that and I'm
getting time," Johnson said.

Mitchell Beauford led the Seawolves (0-8) with 14 points, and
Mike Popoko added 12 points and nine rebounds.

UConn used the press early against the Seawolves to push the
pace, getting easy transition buckets to build a big cushion. The
Huskies jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first six minutes and
cruised to a 46-19 lead at the break. UConn had 24 points in the
paint in the first 20 minutes as they outrebounded the Seawolves
31-16.

The Seawolves shot just 31 percent from the floor and made
5-of-11 free throws.

"You see our guys, they play hard," Pikiell said. "We
struggle from the foul line, we miss a lot of layups, but they try.
I was proud of our effort."

The game was the sixth in a seven-game homestand before UConn
hits the road for its Big East opener at Marquette on Jan. 3. The
Huskies have won all six home games by an average of 39.8 points a
game.

Against Pikiell's overmatched Seawolves, Calhoun ran his record
to 9-0 against former assistants. Pikiell said he wants to mold his
program in UConn's image -- big and athletic. He's also looking
forward to a rematch.

"I would love to come back here with a few more soldiers on my
team and really try to take a whack at the Hall of Famer," he
said.