STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- With just over four minutes left in the game and a 38-point lead over Sacred Heart, three Connecticut players went diving on the floor for a loose ball.
Their coaches stood and applauded, and the Huskies (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) (6-0) went on to an 89-46 rout Wednesday night over their instate rivals."Nobody's quitting," said Jerome Dyson, who scored 11 points and was one of four Connecticut guards in double figures. "That's the good part. Everybody's working hard right until the end of the game. I think that is a good sign."UConn shot 54 percent from the field and used a suffocating man-to-man defense to hold Sacred Heart (2-4) to 30 percent. The Pioneers, who scored 81 points in a loss to North Carolina earlier this month, made just 6 of 21 from beyond the arc."Sometimes when you play it's your fault, and sometimes when you play (badly) it's the other team's fault," said Sacred Heart coach Dave Bike. "I'm going to blame them for as bad as we played."Craig Austrie hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points for the Huskies. Doug Wiggins also had 12 and A.J. Price added 11. Dyson had four steals to go with his 11 points.But it was his team's defensive intensity, exemplified by the dive for that loose ball, that impressed coach Jim Calhoun.UConn outscored Sacred Heart 50 to 22 in the paint, blocking 11 shots and scoring 25 points off 20 Pioneer turnovers."We're a very hungry basketball team," he said. "That's what it tells me. It's a team that is still trying to fight and if we keep that in and our energy with us, we'll be a tough team for everybody to play."Five minutes into the game, the teams were tied 7-7. UConn then went on a 12-0 run and never looked back.Dyson capped a 15-2 run later in the half with a steal and three-point play over Luke Granato to make the score 38-15. Granato went up to block a dunk only to commit a foul as Dyson hung in the air and hit the layup. He also converted the free throw.The Huskies extended that lead to 45-19 at the half.Granato and Jarrid Frye, who came into the game averaging 14 and 12 points per game, were held to six and eight. Ryan Litke led the Pioneers with nine points.UConn finishes the instate portion of its schedule at 3-0. The Huskies beat Quinnipiac 53-46 to open the season, and blew out Fairfield 74-49 in the Hispanic College Fund Classic. They have won 61 straight games against schools from Connecticut.The Huskies were one of eight Division I schools to go undefeated at home last season and are now 106-15 all-time at Gampel Pavilion since it opened in 1990, including 49-4 against nonconference opponents.UConn has won all five of its games against Sacred Heart since the series began in 2000, all of them at home.This season, UConn doesn't play a road game until Dec. 30, when it opens the Big East season at West Virginia."How good we are going to be, we have no idea," Calhoun said. "Once we get to the league schedule and three outside games, we'll have 19 competitive, certainly very tough games for us."