STORRS, Conn. -- Jerome Dyson scored 20 points to lead Connecticut to a closer-than-expected 69-65 win over Morgan State Wednesday in the first round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.
Curtis Kelly added 13 points and nine rebounds, including several key buckets when the game appeared to be slipping away. Jeff Adrien chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.Reggie Holmes had 18 points and Jamar Smith had 16 for Morgan State. Boubacar Coley added 12 points and 10 rebounds.UConn led by 16 early in the second half, but a Smith floater in the lane got the Bears to within four at 66-62 with 1:25 left.Marquise Kelly missed a layup on Morgan State's next possession and the Huskies hung on.UConn will play Buffalo in the second round on Thursday night. The Bulls beat Ohio Valley, 89-82 earlier Wednesday.The Huskies scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 44-28, but missed several other easy opportunities, twice when ally-oop passes went awry and three other times on missed dunks.Morgan State responded with a 14-2 run, capped by a pair of 3-pointers from Smith and Holmes.Two more 3-pointers by Holmes tied the game at 52 with just under 7 minutes left.Connecticut hit just four of its first 15 shots and trailed 14-10 eight minutes into the game.The Huskies trailed 24-19 before switching to a three-guard lineup and going on an 18-4 run to close the half with a 37-28 lead. Craig Austrie and Kelly led the way with eight points each before intermission, highlighted by a Kelly slam that followed a missed Austrie free throw that tied the game at 24.The Huskies played the bulk of the first half without 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet and Dyson, who both picked up two early fouls.Dyson had 13 of his 20 points in the second half.UConn is 18-4 in season openers under coach Jim Calhoun and hasn't lost an opening game at Gampel Pavilion since their on-campus home opened in 1990.