UConn routs in-state rival Sacred Heart 82-49
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) UConn needed a dose of confidence after back-to-back losses last week that dropped the Huskies out of the Top 25.
Daniel Hamilton scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Connecticut routed in-state rival Sacred Heart 82-49 on Wednesday night.
It was the sophomore's third double-double of the season and seventh of his career. He also had seven assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Rodney Purvis had 19 points for UConn (5-2), which was coming off consecutive three-point losses to Syracuse and Gonzaga.
''We definitely got our swagger back a little bit,'' said Purvis.
Jordan Allen scored 18 points to lead Sacred Heart (1-5), which has lost five straight.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie was not happy with another slow start by the Huskies.
The Pioneers led by as many as 11 points in the first half before UConn got rolling, closing the half on a 27-2 run to take a 41-27 lead at halftime.
A pair of dunks by Amida Brimah and a 3-pointer by freshman Jalen Adams gave UConn its first 20-point lead at 52-32. Hamilton's only 3-pointer capped an 18-0 run that made it 59-32 and put the game away.
''When we realized what was at stake, we really got going,'' said Hamilton. ''We got a couple of transition buckets and got after it.''
The game gave the Huskies a chance to regroup before games next week against No. 2 Maryland and Ohio State.
UConn held the Pioneers to 29 percent shooting after allowing Syracuse to shoot 48 percent and Gonzaga to shoot 45 percent from the floor.
Sacred Heart's leading scorer, Cane Broome, who came in averaging 23 points a game, was held to just seven, hitting only three of his 16 shots from the floor.
The Huskies seemed lethargic after returning from their 1-2 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis. They didn't score until Kenton Facey hit a pair of free throws more than 3 1/2 minutes into the game to cut Sacred Heart's lead to 7-2.
Their first field goal came on a dunk by freshman Steven Enoch that made it 9-4. Ollie used 11 players in the first seven minutes trying to find the right combination.
''We can't have those lulls against the teams that we're going to face,'' said Ollie. ''We've got to play from the tap.''
The Pioneers led 15-6 after at 3-pointer by forward Tevin Falzon and a 3-pointer by Quincy McKnight stretched the lead to 23-12. McKnight finished with 11 points, but hit just five of his 14 shots.
''I thought we played 15 minutes of good basketball,'' said Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina. ''If we play like that consistently throughout the year, we're going to have a good season.''
But a dunk by Shonn Miller just before the under-8 minute media timeout started a 16-0 Husky run and UConn took its first lead at 26-25 on a driving three-point play by Purvis.
The Huskies held the Pioneers to just two points the rest of the half and led by 14 at intermission.
''They kind of just imposed their will,'' said Sacred Heart's Allen. ''There going to do that to a lot of people the whole season. Today, it was us.''
Miller and Brimah each had 10 points for UConn. Brimah also had four of the Huskies' 12 blocked shots.
UConn: The Huskies are now 181-78 against other teams from Connecticut, but 72-3 since Jim Calhoun took over the program in the 1986-87 season. Kevin Ollie is 4-1, with a loss to Yale last December.
Sacred Heart: The Pioneers are playing each of the other six Division I programs in Connecticut this season. They opened with a win over Quinnipiac, but have now lost to UConn, Yale and Fairfield. They play Hartford on Dec. 14 and face conference rival Central Connecticut twice, on the road in January and back home in February.
UConn: The Huskies face Maryland at Madison Square Garden next Tuesday, part of the Jimmy V Classic.
Sacred Heart: The Pioneers travel to Maryland to face Towson on Saturday.