Adrien, Huskies rout Rebels to remain unbeatenNov 20, 2006 - 3:07 AM HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Jeff Adrien showed his young Connecticut teammates that he is their unquestioned leader.
Adrien recorded his fourth straight double-double and A.J. Price added a season-high 23 points as the 19th-ranked Huskies posted a 77-59 victory over Mississippi in the Hispanic Fund Classic.
Marcus Johnson collected 10 points and eight rebounds for Connecticut (4-0), which shot 53 percent (29-of-55) from the field and outrebounded the Rebels, 44-31.
Huskies coach Jim Calhoun was happy with the strides his team made and believes the Hispanic Fund Classic gave the young squad a chance to improve.
"It was only nine days ago that we played Quinnipiac and struggled," Calhoun said. "We've made some giant strides. The three games this weekend have given me a much better feeling."
With a stable of young players, Adrien noticed that Calhoun is letting the players learn on the court.
"We focus a lot more. We executed a lot more," Adrien said. "You could say Coach was, not necessarily easier, but he toned it down a little bit. And maybe that helped a lot of guys out, helped them play better."
A second-year forward, Adrien saw action last season, but was buried behind NBA first-round picks Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone on a deep squad. However, the 6-7 forward earned favor with Calhoun for his rugged play and relentless hustle.
In 2006-07, the Huskies have eight freshmen and five sophomores on their roster - with Adrien the only player who saw major minutes last campaign. On Sunday, he collected 13 points and 10 rebounds to reach double digits in those categories in each contest this season.
"Since I've been doing this double-double thing, I really expect nothing less," Adrien said. "That's how I feel. I really like grabbing rebounds. I want to make it a routine, just put it on the stats sheet and call it a day."
Price shot 9-of-13 and handed out four assists. Hasheem Thabeet, a 7-3 freshman center, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots.
After battling a brain aneurism and legal troubles, the highly touted Price spent two seasons away from the game, but has returned and showed remarkable skill, scoring from everywhere on the court.
"I came out from the jump and knew this team was pretty tough on both ends of the floor," Price said. "I felt I needed to step it up offensively. That's what I tried to do throughout the game."
Connecticut, which led, 39-26, at the half, extended the lead to 61-38 on a 3-pointer by Craig Austrie with 9:18 remaining.
Bam Doyne scored 16 points for the Rebels (4-1), who shot 35 percent (24-of-69) and nailed eight shots from the arc.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy admitted his team may have been tired after playing three games in three days.
"We are so dependent on our three senior guards to score, and they have to do so much for us, and we had to play heavy minutes in games one and two because of where we are in our program. It was certainly a factor at both ends of the floor," Kennedy said. "It didn't seem to affect (Connecticut), though. Their guards were very fast with the ball and we had a hard time with them at both ends."
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