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Connecticut 69, Northeastern 60

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun wasn't around for the end of his team's 69-60 win over Northeastern on Thursday night, thanks in part to a technical foul he received for laughing.

"I guess we're going to now (call a foul) for what we're thinking," Calhoun said. "I could have been laughing, I could have had gas."

The officials, Calhoun said, interpreted his laugh as ridiculing a foul call by Wally Rutecki. But there was no interpretation needed for Calhoun's comments about Rutecki after the game.

"That official was a bad official," Calhoun said. "I'm sure I'll hear about this, but he's a bad official."

Asked if Rutecki was out to get him, Calhoun replied, "No, I just think he's incompetent."

Those technical fouls and a 29-point effort from guard Matt Janning helped keep Northeastern in the game just when UConn (6-2) seemed to be taking control of the matchup of teams called Huskies.

Calhoun had already been warned for coming onto the court during play when he received his first technical, the one he said was for laughing, five minutes into the second half. Janning hit both free throws and cut UConn's lead to 41-38.

Connecticut built the lead back to 53-45 with 6:25 left when Calhoun received his second technical. This time he was called for leaving the coaching box and using profanity while urging his team on.

It was Calhoun's fifth ejection at Connecticut, and his first since 2002. Associate head coach George Blaney guided the team the rest of the way.

Janning hit four free throws to pull Northeastern within 53-49, then made a 3-pointer on the next trip down the court to make it 55-52.

With the coach in his office, UConn tightened up on defense, held Janning scoreless the rest of the way and pulled away for the win. Calhoun said he thought his team played looser once he left the bench.

"We just had to come together," said Jerome Dyson, who played all 40 minutes for Connecticut. "We had a lot of stops and we played good team defense."

Dyson led UConn with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hasheem Thabeet added 13 points, seven rebounds and had three of UConn's nine blocked shots.

Northeastern (3-5) took a 9-2 lead, led by two 3-pointers from Janning and four early UConn turnovers against the visitors' 2-3 zone defense.

UConn used its inside game to get back in it, tying the game at 15 on a pretty spin move underneath by Gavin Edwards, and taking the lead a few seconds later when A.J. Price found Edwards under the basket.

UConn bumped the lead to 27-21 when Dyson blocked a fast-break layup attempt by Janning at one end, and Stanley Robinson hit a 3-pointer at the other. Connecticut led 34-28 at halftime.

Janning and Nkem Ojougboh kept Northeastern in the game early, both scoring 11 first-half points. Ojougboh finished with 14.

"I thought early on our zone was effective and we had them a little off-balance, Northeastern coach Bill Coen said. "Then they started to get the rhythm of it and we really had trouble."

Calhoun, who had been blasting his defense for giving up 80 points a game this season, turned his wrath to the offense.

"Bottom line is that we played very poorly, energy-wise," he said.

Northeastern is 0-7 against Calhoun, the school's winningest coach, since he left for Connecticut.

UConn leads the series 34-4. Northeastern hasn't beaten UConn since Reggie Lewis led his team to a 90-73 win in 1985, Calhoun's final year at Northeastern.