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No trouble out of Paradise as Connecticut drills Bryant

Nov 29, 2008 - 9:54 PM HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Leaving Paradise did not slow down second-ranked Connecticut.

Hasheem Thabeet led five players in double figures with 16 points and 12 rebounds to help the Huskies to an 88-58 romp over Bryant University on Saturday.

UConn (6-0), which is coming off a victory in the Paradise Jam tournament, continued its scorching start against the overmatched Bulldogs (1-3).

Craig Austrie scored 15 points and A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien added 14 apiece for the Huskies, who have won their first six games by an average margin of 23.2 points.

"It's a team thing. It's about knowing each other," Thabeet said. "We got to hang out in the Virgin Islands. And that helped our team chemistry. People don't understand how important hanging out off the court can be.

"We have great individual players, but now it's a team thing. That's why we have people coming off the bench and helping us."

The Huskies withstood an early 3-point flurry by Bryant before closing the first half with an 18-5 run to take a 45-28 lead at intermission en route to giving coach Jim Calhoun his 780th victory, tying him with Lute Olson and Lou Henson for eighth place on the all-time in Division I.

"We had a workmanlike performance," Calhoun said. "You play these games trying to get something out of them. Teams won't play us the way Bryant had to play us, by packing five guys in the lane.

"I would have liked us to play better three-point defense and better overall defense."

Cecil Gresham scored 19 points, including six 3-pointers for the Bulldogs, who were coming off a 59-50 win over Quinnipiac.

Bryant kept it close early behind the long-range shooting of Gresham, who connected on his first three shots from the arc. His fourth 3-pointer of the opening half got the Bulldogs within 27-23 before the Huskies pulled away.

"They got a lot of quick shots early," UConn guard Jerome Dyson said. "That caught us off guard. Once we get the ball inside, it really opens things us for us on the wind.

A dunk and two free throws by the 7-3 Thabeet and a 3-pointer by Austrie sparked a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to double digits.

Dyson snuffed out any hopes of a Bryant comeback, scoring eight of his 11 points in the first four minutes of the second half as the lead ballooned to 55-33.

Thabeet also blocked three shots and helped UConn to an overwhelming 47-23 edge on the backboards.

"It was a good win," Adrien said. "It all comes from the way we practice. And that started with Coach - he warned us about teams that have been upset."

    --- --- -----
    BRYANT 28 30 58
    CONNECTICUT (2) 45 43 88 FINAL

    Nov 29 2:47 PM

    BRYANT 28

    Nov 29 1:48 PM
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    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Bryant vs. Connecticut(2)Nov 29 9:36 AM