HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun says he still gets butterflies before games, even when playing a team like Bryant.
Calhoun earned his 780th career victory Saturday as his No. 2 Huskies (6-0) routed the Bulldogs 88-58. The win moved Calhoun into a tie with Lou Henson and Lute Olson for eighth place on the all-time list."If I'm still excited about it and still got a little something going through my stomach, which I do, before Bryant, than I think [the players] should," Calhoun said. "I would like them to share that experience, because you don't know when that will be taken away from you or just ends, your career ends."Hasheem Thabeet had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Huskies in double figures. Craig Austrie scored 15, A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien each had 14, and Jerome Dyson added 11 for UConn.Cecil Gresham, who is from the Hartford suburb of Bloomfield, hit 6 of 9 from 3-point range and had 19 points to lead Bryant (1-3), which is playing its first season in Division I.Coach Tim O'Shea said he's hopeful the exposure of playing UConn will introduce more people to the little Rhode Island school, so they'll stop mistaking it for "Bear Bryant University in Alabama or something.""This is all part of branding ourselves as a Division I program," he said. "For me, it's tremendously exciting."Connecticut was coming off winning the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands with back-to-back victories over No. 23 Miami and No. 25 Wisconsin.But the Huskies came out sluggish against Bryant, which led 15-14 eight minutes in. Austrie responded with a pair of short jumpers and UConn never trailed again."I felt like we came out flat," Austrie said. "It happens to the best of them. But the good thing is that we turned it around and stomped on them."The Huskies closed the half on a 23-8 run and led 45-28 at intermission. They stretched that out after the half, and led 68-41 when Price hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 12:50 left.It was the third time this season the 7-foot-3 Thabeet has had double figures in points and rebounds. UConn outrebounded the Bulldogs 48-27 and had 24 second-chance points, to just four for Bryant.All of Thabeet's points came on either dunks or foul shots."I'm getting better every day," Thabeet said. "They didn't have a lot of size over there, so we took advantage of that to go my way."Connecticut is now 184-21 in the months of November and December against nonconference opposition under Calhoun.This was the fifth consecutive year the Huskies and Bulldogs have met, but each of the other four were exhibition games. UConn won all of those, including a 100-65 victory last season.