for this game

Connecticut uses strong second half to smother DePaul

Jan 29, 2009 - 6:10 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- After a slow start Wednesday, Connecticut looked like the team that could ascend to No. 1 in the country at week's end.

Jeff Adrien recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds as second-ranked Connecticut pulled away in the second half en route to a 71-49 victory over DePaul.

Jerome Dyson scored 18 points and Hasheem Thabeet added 11 and nine boards for the Huskies, who turned a six-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage they would not relinquish thanks to a 13-5 run to open the half.

UConn (19-1, 8-1 Big East) won its eighth straight since beginning Big East play with a loss to Georgetown by limiting DePaul to just 14 second-half points.

"We physically had some problems standing up to them," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright told the Chicago Tribune. "That's where they're ahead of us right now."

The Huskies used a quick 15-4 spurt over a span of 3:46, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from A.J. Price, to turn a three-point lead into a 34-20 bulge with 5:42 left in the first half.

Price added 12 points for Connecticut, which is poised to take over the top spot in the polls with a win over Providence on Saturday after No. 1 Duke lost to fourth-ranked Wake Forest on Wednesday.

However, DePaul was able to hang around, pulling to within six at the break, 41-35, after Dar Tucker drained a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.

After allowing 35 points in the first half to one of two winless teams in the Big East, the Huskies turned up the defensive effort in the second.

DePaul went more than four minutes before registering its first points after halftime and went another 6:10 without a point late in the half as the Huskies cruised to the win.

"They had a little too much for us," Wainwright told the newspaper. "We got a little tired and worn out."

Tucker paced the Blue Demons (8-13, 0-8) with 20 points while Will Walker added 12.