(1) Connecticut 76

(18-1, 6-1 Big East)

Providence 62

(9-9, 2-5 Big East)

2:00 PM ET, January 28, 2006

Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island

1 2 T
#1CONN 37 3976
PROV 29 3362

Top Performers

Connecticut: H. Armstrong 16 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Blk

Providence: R. Hanke 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Stl, 5 Blk

UConn big men wear down PC in second half

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- When the shots wouldn't fall, top-ranked Connecticut had to work a little harder for its baskets.

"Making the first shot ... that would be a bit easier," UConn center Josh Boone said after the Huskies beat Providence 76-62 on Saturday. "But when you have 21 offensive rebounds, you can't really complain."

Hilton Armstrong had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Boone had nine and 13 to lead UConn (18-1, 6-1 Big East) to its seventh consecutive win. The Huskies struggled with their shooting -- making just 39 percent from the field -- but used a 52-34 advantage in rebounding to set up 36 second-chance points, against 11 for Providence.

"That was the killer," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "That was the difference."

The road team had won five straight matchups between the teams, including UConn's 94-89 double-overtime victory in Providence last year. But the Friars (9-9, 2-5) fell to 0-5 against ranked teams this season and has not beaten one in 15 tries.

"Half that team is NBA," said Donnie McGrath, who scored 18 points for Providence. "It's tough to compete with a team like that for 40 minutes."

Randall Hanke had 16 points and Sharaud Curry added 15 for the Friars. Hanke also had five blocked shots, and his back-to-back layups pulled Providence within 50-45 midway through the second half.

But UConn scored the next seven points, getting a tip-in from Denham Brown, two free throws from Boone and another tip-in from Rudy Gay that made it 56-45 with 9 minutes left. Brown finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Gay scored 10 points.

"It took us 30 minutes to shake them. Maybe 35 minutes, and that's due to their tenacity," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Hilton Armstrong changed everything in the middle."

UConn, which improved to No. 1 in both polls when Duke lost to Georgetown last week, next faces Pittsburgh (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP). Then the Huskies go to Indiana (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) for a nonconference game and return to the Big East to host Syracuse (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 25 AP), with a game at West Virginia (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 9 AP) on Feb. 11.

"Now we go easy," Calhoun joked. "We are in the best conference in America."

The Huskies were without freshman Jeff Adrien, who was serving a one-game suspension for fighting against St. John's. After Wednesday's scuffle, UConn went on a 15-4 run.

The Huskies didn't need such a spark on Saturday.

"I wouldn't say losing a guy hurts us," guard Marcus Williams said. "We're able to lose a guy and still come out with the same performance."

Even without Adrien, who is averaging 4.9 rebounds a game, UConn had a dominating rebounding performance. Every player who was in the game for substantial minutes had at least two offensive rebounds.

"That's one of the best things we do," Boone said. "Everyone on our team can get to the offensive boards. When we do that, it just makes our jobs that much easier."

The Friars kept it close for most of the first half, trailing 31-29 with 3 minutes left. But Brown and Rashad Anderson each hit a 3-pointer to make it an eight-point game at halftime.

UConn scored eight straight points early in the second half, taking a 48-35 lead with 15:03 left on Armstrong's dunk. But Providence went on an 8-0 run to get back in the game and trailed 50-45 on Hanke's putback.

The game opened with a stunning alley-oop in which Gay went about 2 feet above the rim to catch the pass and slam it in.

"It's still impressive," Boone said, "no matter how many times you see it."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 76 62
FG Made-Attempted 24-62 (.387) 26-65 (.400)
3P Made-Attempted 6-17 (.353) 5-16 (.313)
FT Made-Attempted 22-29 (.759) 5-13 (.385)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 15 6

2005-06 Season

» Jan 28, 2006 CONN 76, @PROV 62Recap