Hartford, CT -- Freshman guard Ben Gordon (Mt. Vernon, NY) scored 23 points to pace hot-shooting Connecticut to a 110-58 victory over New Hampshire before a crowd of 15,953 at the Hartford Civic Center.
“I think Phil (Rowe) does a good job with that team,” said UConn head coach Jim Calhoun. “They hung with us. The thing that probably got to them the most was the explosion right near the end of the first half. We locked up the kid who killed us in the first half. It took us 30 minutes to really get the game where we wanted to get it. That’s a credit to them certainly. We talked to the people from Boston College, they said they just kind of hung around and didn’t let up. They hung around with us legitimately for the first half, and we just started to play better.”
New Hampshire actually led 33-32 with 2:42 to play in the first half when Marcus Bullock hit his sixth three- pointer of the half. Connecticut finished the half with a 12-0 run paced by Tony Robertson (Jr., E. Providence, RI), who hit two three pointers in the key run. Bullock had 20 points at the half for the Wildcats, but was held scoreless in the second half.
New Hampshire head coach Phil Rowe was happy with the effort given by his Wildcats, but acknowledged that they were hard pressed to keep up with the fast-breaking Huskies. "Power and strength will get you every time when you try and take it to somebody. I thought our guys did a great job for the first 18 minutes. I thought we did a super job of attacking after we hit a couple of threes. I was really pleased with the way our guys played in the first half and I thought for the first five to seven minutes in the second half, we were competitive."
UConn, now 2-0 on the season, blew the game open with a 16-2 run midway through the second half, opening up a 67-40 lead with 11:05 to play. The Huskies shot a sizzling 64% for the game (43 of 67) from the field, including a blistering 68% (23 of 34) in the second half.
Gordon had plenty of company in double figures as five teammates notched at least 10 points. Robertson had 19, while Caron Butler (So., Racine, WI) had 12 and Johnnie Selvie (Sr., Flint, MI) added 11. Taliek Brown (So., Queens, NY) had 10 points and a game-high eight assists while Scott Hazelton (RFr., Reading, MA) chipped in with 10 off the bench.
In just his second collegiate game, Gordon made a significant impact. "The coach (Jim Calhoun) and the rest of the staff, and the older players have been encouraging me to do stuff like this in games. And today was my breakout game."
The Huskies enjoyed a 48-24 advantage on the boards, paced by six apiece by Gordon, Brown and Emeka Okafor (Fr., Houston, TX). The Huskies were able to dominate inside, scoring 64 points in the paint and converted 18 offensive rebounds into 27 second chance points.
Assane Faye added 17 points for UNH, now 0-4. The Wildcats leading scorer, Austin Ganly, who entered the game with a 23.7 average, was held to just 2 points, scoring his only basket with 15:10 to play.