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Connecticut uses balanced attack to roll past Sacred Heart

Nov 30, 2006 - 2:51 AM STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun saw plenty of energy and intensity from his young team in the opening half of the Huskies' latest rout.

Craig Austrie and Doug Wiggins scored 12 points each and Jerome Dyson and A.J. Price added 11 apiece to help No. 15 Connecticut remain undefeated with an 89-46 victory over Sacred Heart.

The Huskies (6-0) recorded their 25th consecutive home victory and 12th straight at Gampel Pavilion, where they are 49-4 against non-conference opponents since 1990. Connecticut has won all five encounters against the Pioneers (2-4).

"I remember playing them two years ago," Calhoun said. "We had a tough time with matchups. Tonight, we didn't have a problem with matchups because we have a lot of guards. We went to a three-guard lineup and I think that changed the game defensively and offensively."

After Jarid Frye made a running dunk for Sacred Heart to tie the game at 7-7, Connecticut responded by scoring the next 12 points. The freshman Wiggins nailed consecutive baskets and Austrie and Price hit 3-pointers during the run.

"We were having fun, getting out and running, and a lot of different people were scoring," Price said. "And when that happens, it makes the game a lot more fun for everybody."

Ryan Litke's 3-pointer brought the Pioneers within 21-13 with 10:39 to go before halftime, however, the Huskies broke open the contest with a 22-2 spurt.

Price scored six points and set up freshman Stanley Robinson for a dunk. Austrie made a basket from the arc, and Dyson completed a three-point play and capped the burst with a dunk for a 43-15 lead with 2:43 left before intermission.

"I think we're one of the quickest teams in the country, and we just have to utilize that to our full potential," Austrie said. "I feel like we're getting to that. We're working hard in practice. We're still not there yet, but we're getting to where we want to be."

Connecticut shot 55 percent (18-of-33) from the floor in the first half, while limiting Sacred Heart to 29 percent (8-of-28). The Huskies had six steals, forced 12 turnovers and held an opponent to less than 20 points in a half for third time this season.

"If we have to go out and play on the perimeter, we can," Calhoun said. "And I don't care who we're playing against. We may not be able to hold them to 30 percent, but we have a pretty good history of holding a lot of people in that range."

"We had a lot of steals," Dyson said. "Everybody was working a lot harder. They were trying to get a lot of back cuts on us. We just pressured the ball real well when they were trying to get the back cuts and that helped out a lot."

Sacred Heart made three layups to get the Pioneers within 49-25 with 15 minutes left before Calhoun called a timeout and urged his team to concentrate and remain focused against an overmatched opponent.

Connecticut eventually responded with a 16-5 run, highlighted by four points by Dyson and a dunk by freshman Gavin Edwards to help the Huskies extend the margin to 75-37 with 5:18 to go.

Litke scored nine points and Frye had eight for the Pioneers, who shot 30 percent (18-of-60) and were outrebounded, 43-29.

"We were trying to hold the ball a little bit, try to get some penetration, kick-outs and stuff like that, but we didn't do it," Sacred Heart coach Dave Bike said. "Sometimes when you play, it's your own fault and sometimes when you play, it's the other team's fault."

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