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Walker helps UConn blow past Hartford

Nov 18, 2008 - 4:01 AM HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Connecticut's dominant finish turned a surprising contest into a rout.

Freshman Kemba Walker scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and Craig Austrie also had 21 as second-ranked Connecticut used a huge run to pound Hartford, 99-56, on Monday.

Jerome Dyson added 18 points for the Huskies (2-0), who were playing without senior point guard A.J. Price due to a left ankle injury.

Hartford (0-2) opened the second half on a 10-2 run to pull within one point with 17:33 remaining, but Connecticut imposed its will after that.

"It was kind of the way we wanted to play the whole game but we couldn't get it going at the beginning," Dyson said. "We got it going in the second half."

The Huskies used a 12-0 run later in the half to take a 65-49 advantage with 11:13 left to play. Walker made consecutive 3-pointers during the burst.

"My confidence level has increased," said Walker, who was 6-of-11 from the floor and added five rebounds. "Playing with these guys every day has really got my confidence up. I tried to be aggressive."

After a 3-pointer by Joe Zeglinski ended the first run, Connecticut scored another 12 unanswered points to take a 77-52 bulge with 7:03 left, putting the game out of reach.

"I thought (Hartford) competed very, very hard," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "They were in the game until there were 13 minutes to go, and then we exploded. We wore them out with numbers, then wore them out with the fast break."

Jeff Adrien had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Connecticut, which outscored Hartford, 46-7, over the game's final 13 minutes.

The Huskies outrebounded the Hawks, 47-32, and held a 33-12 edge in made free throws.

Morgan Sabia scored 12 points to lead the Hawks, who shot 35 percent (19-of-44) from the floor.

"I thought we fought a pretty good fight for as long as we could," Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz said. "But there was a breaking point there where we lost poise and we kind of undid ourselves. UConn clearly capitalized on every mistake that we made."