Scores

Final

Quinnipiac 72

(0-1, 0-1 away)

(14) Connecticut 91

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2002

    Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Connecticut

    1 2 T
    QUIN 33 3972
    #14CONN 48 4391

    Okafor, Gordon continue UConn's opener streak

    STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Emeka Okafor admitted to some opening night jitters Saturday but he seemed to shed them in a hurry.

    The 6-foot-9 sophomore dominated the post with 12 rebounds, 16 points and three blocks as 14th-ranked Connecticut beat intrastate rival Quinnipiac 91-72 in the season-opener for both teams.

    "I was a little anxious," Okafor said. "You try to get the season kicked off right."

    UConn (1-0) has kicked off the last 17 seasons with a win under coach Jim Calhoun.

    Ben Gordon led the Huskies with 22 points and three steals. He and backcourt mate Taliek Brown pushed the tempo all game and against the Bobcats. Led by Okafor, UConn outscored Quinnipiac 58-12 in the paint and had a 45-37 rebounding edge.

    "We're a real versatile team. We have a lot of combinations," said Okafor, who set a freshman school record last season with 138 blocks. "We can run for days."

    Often those combinations were a three-guard lineup of Brown, Gordon and Tony Robertson off the bench and various small forwards leaving Okafor the big man in the middle.

    "I wouldn't call it a burden, it's just my part," Okafor said. "Everybody's going to do their part on this team to help us win."

    Brown finished with 16 points and had a game-high 10 assists. Robertson scored 10 for UConn.

    The Bobcats, in their fifth year of Division I ball, are winless against the Huskies in four meetings. UConn extended its winning streak over non-Big East New England rivals to 78.

    "I don't think we were as prepared as we should have been for tonight's game," Quinnipiac coach Joe DeSantis. "But we didn't quit. It was a good thing for us because we were thrown right into the fire."

    Gordon scored seven points in a 19-8 first half run that helped the Huskies pull away. His 3-pointer with 6:37 capped the spurt and gave UConn a 33-20 lead.

    The Huskies led by as many 17 in the first half, dominating the post and hitting 14 of 16 from the foul line to take a 48-33 lead at the break. The Bobcats would get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.

    Although he was pleased with the running game, Calhoun said the Huskies need to be more consistent on defense.

    "You've got to take every moment that you're on the court seriously," Calhoun said. "And you could see the guys that did. The older guys did and the younger guys have got to catch up. It's simple."

    Rob Monroe led Quinnipiac with 15 points. Rashaun Banjo and C.J. Vick had 11 apiece for the Bobcats.

    Quinnipiac's Jeremy Bishop, the leading rebounder in the NCAA last season with 11.9 a game, had five boards and six points before fouling out with 11 minutes left.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    2002-03 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Nov 23, 2002 @CONN 91, QUIN 72Recap