Robinson, Connecticut thrash CincinnatiMar 10, 2008 - 2:22 AM STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- For Connecticut, playing one day later proved to be well worth the wait.
Stanley Robinson had 18 points and eight rebounds and Hasheem Thabeet added 15, eight, and eight blocks as the 14th-ranked Huskies pounded Cincinnati, 96-51, in the Big East Conference season finale for both teams Sunday.
Craig Austrie and Jeff Adrien also scored in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Huskies (24-7, 13-5 Big East), who will be the fourth seed in the conference tournament later this week.
"Tonight, we came out and played great, great defense," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "In turn, as our defense got good, our offense got terrific. I'm sure with the situation that Cincinnati had getting here, I've been on benches, not an awful lot of times, but a few times, where you're helpless and there's nothing you can do."
Thabeet was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and made all five of his free throws. The sophomore's season total of 94 blocks also breaks the Big East single-season record previously held by Alonzo Mourning.
The contest was supposed to be played on Saturday, but Cincinnati was unable to make the trip until Sunday due to a snow storm.
Soon after the game started, the Bearcats probably wished they were still in Ohio.
The Huskies blew the game open early in the first half, using a decisive 30-0 run - keyed by five 3-pointers - to take a 36-5 lead with 5:52 to play. The Bearcats missed 15 straight shots and were held scoreless for just over 11 minutes during the stretch.
"I always believe in giving the winning team credit," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "We haven't played well of late and we looked like a tired ballclub that went through a terrible debacle with our travel situation the last three days.
"But you have to give Connecticut credit. When they make perimeter shots the way they made them today, combined with their size and athleticism, they're a devastating team."
Cincinnati never got back into the game after that, making a dismal 5-of-32 shots (16 percent) in the first half, while Connecticut made 6-of-12 3-pointers en route to a comfortable 47-15 lead at the break.
Robinson had 14 of his points in the first half and Adrien added 10, including his first career 3-pointer for the Huskies.
"That's five or six games in a row where he (Robinson) has been absolutely terrific," Calhoun said. "He played better defense tonight. He gives us a big front line and makes it so much better for us."
Connecticut did not let up in the second half and took a 78-30 bulge on back-to-back 3-pointers by A.J. Price and Doug Wiggins midway through the second half. Connecticut led by as many as 54 with 6:35 to play.
The Huskies shot 64 percent (18-of-28) from the floor in the second half and the margin of victory was their largest ever in Big East Conference play.
Deonta Vaughn and Rashard Bishop each scored nine points to lead the Bearcats (13-17, 8-10), who have lost five straight games.
Vaughn had scored 34 points in the first meeting between the teams, an 84-83 Connecticut win on January 23.
"I'm sure they were probably committed to doing a better job on him," Cronin said. "We didn't do a good job of getting him open, and he didn't do a good job himself. It's a snowball situation."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
CINCINNATI 15 36 51
CONNECTICUT (14) 47 49 96 FINAL
Mar 9 8:05 PM
- NCAA BB
(14) CONNECTICUT 47 HALFTIME
Mar 9 6:59 PM
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