for this game

Adrien powers Connecticut in Dyson's return

Feb 27, 2008 - 4:54 AM PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Jerome Dyson made his return but it was Jeff Adrien that stole the show for Connecticut.

Adrien had a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds and Stanley Robinson added 18 and 13 as No. 16 Connecticut got back in the win column with a 79-61 victory over Rutgers in Big East Conference action Tuesday.

Craig Austrie also chipped in 18 points, making all four of his 3-pointers for the Huskies, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped at Villanova on Saturday.

Adrien shot 10-of-15 from the field as Connecticut made 52 percent (29-of-56) of its shots.

"The performance by Jeff Adrien was special," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "He got his career high, but the greatest thing he did was on defense. I've really been trying to get Jeff to play 40 (minutes) full. He always plays great defense down the stretch, but he played the entire game tonight. He played terrific for us."

The game marked the return of Connecticut's sophomore guard Dyson, who had missed the last nine games due to a 30-day suspension following a failed drug test on January 24. Dyson, who had averaged 14.3 points per game coming in, scored just three points on 1-of-3 shooting and had five assists in 15 minutes of action.

But the Huskies (22-6, 11-4 Big East) still had plenty of offense, as Austrie made a pair of 3-pointers during a 9-0 spurt that gave the Huskies a 27-16 lead with 9:02 left in the half.

Connecticut led by as many as 12 points but Rutgers closed the half strong and cut the deficit to 43-37 at the break on Corey Chandler's jumper.

"I thought we played a good first half, against a team that's extremely talented and strong," Rutgers coach Fred Hill. "In the second half, the young guys responded well to each run that UConn made. At that point in time you can answer or lose your focus, and we never stopped playing hard."

The Scarlet Knights (10-19, 2-14) got as close as two early in the second half but the Huskies answered with an 11-0 run - keyed by five points from Robinson - to take a 58-45 lead with 13 minutes remaining.

"We had a lull in the last 10 minutes of the first half and a lull for the first three or four minutes of the second half, but then we turned it up," Calhoun said. "I think we also wore them out a little bit."

The Huskies led by at least six the rest of the way, and held a double-digit advantage for the final 6:43 of the contest.

The Huskies had a big edge on the boards, outrebounding the Scarlet Knights, 41-24.

Freshman Earl Pettis scored a season-high 18 points to pace the Scarlet Knights, who remain in last place in the Big East and have lost eight straight games.

"Earl has a terrific IQ, he's a great passer and is very versatile," Hill said. "He shot the ball extremely well tonight, but the other things that he did, he really showed the player he can develop into."