Adrien, Connecticut continue great road workJan 16, 2009 - 5:37 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Experience is a key component to winning on the road, and no team may have more of that in the Big East than Connecticut.
Jeff Adrien scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half as fourth-ranked Connecticut overcame an inconsistent start for a 67-55 victory over St. John's on Thursday.
Freshman Kemba Walker scored 21 points for the Huskies (15-1, 4-1 Big East), who pulled away in the second half to accomplish something that never had been done during coach Jim Calhoun's tenure.
Combined with victories at then-No. 22 West Virginia and Cincinnati over the past 10 days, Connecticut has won three consecutive league road games for the first time under Calhoun.
"I think it says how difficult this league is, and there's no such thing as an easy game, especially on the road," Connecticut senior guard A. J. Price told The New York Times. "It also says this team is pretty good. We've done something that even national championship teams haven't been able to do in previous years."
This marked the eighth time the Huskies have played three straight games on the road under Calhoun, and third occasion on which they all were league contests.
Clinging to a 31-30 edge at the break, the Huskies took control with a 14-2 run that extended their lead to 51-38 with 9:32 remaining. Walker scored seven points, including a 3-pointer he banked in to cap the burst.
"It is exactly the kind of game that I predicted," Calhoun said. "St. John's is a team that if you don't fight, you are going to get beat. When we were down in the first half, we were starting to get beat. Then we started to fight in the last five or six minutes.
"We gave up four points in the last 20-something seconds. We came out in the second half and went back to fighting. That's what you have to do against a St. John's team."
Adrien, who finished 7-of-11 from the field, added five points during the run.
The Red Storm (10-6, 1-3) got no closer that nine points thereafter.
Playing for the first time in his native New York, Walker did not disappoint, going 8-of-12 from the field with five rebounds and four assists.
Walker picked up the slack for Connecticut's senior backcourt of Price and Jerome Dyson, who combined for 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting and eight turnovers.
"He may be as good at change of pace at the top as far as dribbling as anyone," Calhoun told The Times.
Paris Horne scored a career-high 24 points for the Red Storm, who were outrebounded, 38-25.
"UConn is great team, they do a great job on the glass," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "We turned the ball over too much and gave them too many easy baskets in transition. We defended them pretty well and we did some good things offensively at times, but we were a little too careless with the basketball."
Adrien had 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double and fifth of the season. Hasheem Thabeet added 10 points, eight boards and five of Connecticut's seven blocks.
Facing its third straight top-10 team after a win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame on January 3 and a loss at top-ranked Pittsburgh on Sunday, St. John's came out strong against Connecticut, scoring 12 of the first 18 points.
D.J. Kennedy had four points and an assist during that surge. The sophomore swingman finished with 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Although the Huskies pulled even at 12-12, the Red Storm went back ahead behind five straight points by Rob Thomas, including a three-point play that made it 17-12 with 12:10 remaining.
UConn responded with an 8-0 run as Walker scored the final six points to lead the Huskies to a 20-17 advantage with 9:19 to play.
Horne, who shot 9-of-13 with three 3-pointers, ended the Huskies' run with a layup and later hit a basket from the arc and converted two free throws to help the Red Storm go back ahead at 26-22 with 2:38 remaining.
Showing few good stretches against St. John's early, UConn tried to finish up the opening 20 minutes on a good note, ripping off a 9-0 run. But Horne had a layup and a putback in the closing 16 seconds, the latter coming after a steal from Stanley Robinson, to draw the Red Storm within a point.
Despite their great first half, the Red Storm eventually were worn down by the Huskies' depth as seven players saw 17 or more minutes of action.
"We played hard, I have no doubt we played hard," Roberts said. "It's tough out there. D.J. Kennedy is playing 40 minutes. Paris Horne is playing 36 minutes. We're dead tired, and they're running guys in and out."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
CONNECTICUT (4) 31 36 67
ST JOHNS 30 25 55 FINAL
Jan 15 9:04 PM
- NCAA BB
(4) CONNECTICUT 31
ST JOHNS 30 HALFTIME
Jan 15 7:56 PM
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