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UConn starts sloppy but still routs Lehigh

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said his
team's 75-55 victory over Lehigh on Monday night amounted to a
missed opportunity.

The third-ranked Huskies shot poorly in a sloppy first half and
allowed the smaller Mountain Hawks to stay close early.

"We didn't take full advantage of the opportunity to get
better," Calhoun said. "It wasn't our best performance, it wasn't
our worst performance."

The Huskies (5-1) were playing their first game after
relinquishing the No. 1 ranking, which they held in the preseason
poll and for the first two weeks of the regular season. UConn was
coming off a dominating 76-44 win over Utah last Friday in the
consolation game of the Preseason NIT. Some of that edge was
clearly missing on Monday.

"They were at a great level on Friday," Calhoun said. "They
were just impeccable."

Ben Gordon led Connecticut with 19 points and a had a
career-high five steals. Rashad Anderson finished with 14 points
and Denham Brown had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Jose Olivero led Lehigh (1-3) with 17 points and Ra Tiah was
3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line and finished with 11.

After a quick 7-0 run on transition baskets in the first minute
of the game, the Huskies quickly cooled off.

"We kind of got real laid back and stopped playing defense,"
Gordon said. "We didn't run any offense and we let them stick
around."

UConn went four minutes without a field goal and the Mountain
Hawks didn't fare much better, hitting just two of their first 12
shots. The teams combined for 20 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Lehigh managed to stay close with five 3-pointers and caught
UConn with 2:49 left in the first half on Dayne Mickelson's jumper
that tied it 24-24.

"We were thinking that we could win the game even though nobody
else did," Tiah said. "We weren't as shocked as everyone else."

The Huskies broke away with a 13-2 run in the closing minutes to
take a 37-26 halftime lead. UConn was 6-of-6 from the free throw
line in that spurt. Lehigh's only points in the final 2{ minutes
came off free throws made when Brown was called for a technical for
trash talking.

UConn shot 55 percent in the second half and led by as many as
26 points with five minutes to play. But the Huskies lack of
consistency frustrated their coach. Agitated by one Lehigh basket
off a UConn turnover in the second half, Calhoun turned and kicked
a courtside sign beneath the scorer's table.

"I think the kids felt the same way, they were frustrated,"
Calhoun said. "We did have enough minutes where we locked down and
did the things we needed to do."

Emeka Okafor finished with 10 points and two blocked shots for
UConn and freshman forward Josh Boone had five blocks.

Lehigh coach Billy Taylor said his team tried all night to
control the tempo and keep the Huskies off balance, but couldn't
overcome UConn's size and athleticism.

"I was proud of our effort. Disappointed that we lost, but I
liked a lot of the things we did tonight," Taylor said.