STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut forward Gavin Edwards is expected to lose some minutes when former starter Stanley Robinson returns later this month after missing a semester for personal reasons.
Edwards made his pitch Monday night to not be forgotten, scoring a career-high 17 points and leading the No. 2 Huskies over Delaware State 79-49.
"Anytime I feel like I'm having like an off day or whatever, I just know that I've got to step it up a little bit to prove myself in Coach's eyes that I deserve my playing time," Edwards said.
Edwards, the son of former NFL defensive lineman Earl Edwards, was 7-of-9 from the floor.
"We had some good things happen," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "Gavin is a good thing. Hasheem's 17 rebounds is a good thing. But I don't think we played as well as we were capable of playing."
Calhoun was especially displeased with the perimeter defense on Donald Johnson. He led the Hornets (1-9) with 25 points, including 16 in the first half, when his teammates had just two. He was 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
"I've told everyone all year long that Donald Johnson can shoot the ball as well as anyone in the country," Delaware State coach Greg Jackson said. "He's just on a team that's not as talented as these teams."
For the second consecutive game, the Huskies let an overmatched opponent stay in the game early. Johnson hit his first three 3-pointers from the same spot on the left baseline, and Delaware State trailed only 14-11 midway through the first half.
But the Huskies began pressing and went on a 19-3 run, with another 3-pointer by Johnson accounting for the only Hornets points.
UConn led 44-18 going into the break after holding the Hornets to 23 percent shooting from the floor.
Johnson hit his fifth 3-pointer to open the second half to start a 9-2 run. UConn didn't get its first field goal after intermission until Thabeet slammed through an ally-oop on an inbounds play with 15:29 left.
Delaware State attempted to shorten the game by running down the shot clock on most second-half possessions.
The Hornets also packed their zone inside, trying to deny UConn's bigger and stronger post players. But even though they scored 20 of the first 32 points in the second half, it was clear they couldn't stay with the more talented Huskies.
UConn went on a 14-4 run to make it 69-42 with 3:38 left. Delaware State shot 29 3-pointers, hitting just seven.
"It was tough. We had to adjust to what they were doing," Thabeet said. "We don't play that many teams that hold the ball until the end of the shot clock and put it up. But everyday is a new challenge for us and we're just trying to stack up some wins."
Delaware State was without forward Arturo Dubois, who was averaging more than nine points and eight rebounds per game. Team officials said the senior transfer from Manhattan was suspended for disciplinary reasons, but would not elaborate.
Without him, the Hornets had a hard time with the 7-foot-3 Thabeet, who had nine rebounds in the first 9 minutes.
The Hornets have lost nine straight games since a season-opening win over Wilmington and have not played at home since their second game of the season on Nov. 15.
UConn has won 92 consecutive regular-season games in Storrs in November and December. The Huskies have a record of 120-17 in Gampel Pavilion, 57-4 against non-conference opponents.