Game #11-- Saturday, January 11, 2003, Noon
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167), Storrs, CT
No. 3 AP, No. 3 ESPN/USA
Connecticut HUSKIES (9-1, 0-0)
Miami HURRICANES (7-5, 0-1)
TELEVISION COVERAGE: WTXX-TV 20
Bob Picozzi (play-by-play), Ron Perry (analyst)
RADIO COVERAGE: UCONN RADIO NETWORK
Joe DAmbrosio (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (analyst);
WTIC (1080-AM); WILI (1400-AM);
WLIS (1420-AM); WMRD (1150-AM); WICC (600-AM).
THE MATCH-UP-- Today's game features the Huskies of the University of Connecticut against the Hurricanes of the University of Miami. The Huskies are 9-1 on the season entering their BIG EAST opener and come off their first loss of the season, 73-63, at No. 9 Oklahoma on January 7. UConn has won 21 of its last 23 games dating back to last season, the only losses coming to national champion Maryland in the 2002 Elite Eight and at No. 9 Oklahoma. Miami is 7-5 overall, 0-1 in the BIG EAST. The Hurricanes dropped a 68-63 decision at West Virginia in their BIG EAST opener on January 7.
THE COACHES-- The head coach of Connecticut, in his 17th season with the Huskies, is Jim Calhoun. Coach Calhoun has a career record of 633-287 in his 31st season of collegiate coaching. He has a record of 385-150 in 17 seasons at UConn and was 248-137 in 14 seasons at Northeastern. Perry Clark is in his third season at Miami and has a 47-26 record. He is in his 14th overall season as a collegiate head coach and has a career record of 232-171.
LAST TIME OUT FOR UCONN-- Senior guard Hollis Price scored a career high 33 points as the University of Oklahoma held off a valiant comeback by the University of Connecticut and posted a 73-63 victory in a battle of two top ten teams. The Sooners led 37-24 at half time and opened up a 20-point lead, 51-31, with 15:45 to play. The Huskies then went on an 11-0 run and closed the gap to 53-46 with 7:57 to play as Ben Gordon hit an inside shot. The Huskies then closed the gap to five, 55-50 with 5:05 left to play as freshman Rashad Anderson connected on a shot that capped a 19-4 UConn run. UConn had a chance to close that gap again with 2:32 to play, but Taliek Brown was called for a travel as the Huskies trailed by six, 59-53 and could get no closer. Sooner senior guard Ebi Ere was the other double figure scorer for the Sooners with 15 points. UConn had four players in double figures as sophomore center Emeka Okafor had a double-double for the ninth time this year with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Tony Robertson came off the bench to lead the Huskies in scoring with 16 points, including two three-point field goals. Sophomore guard Ben Gordon added 12 points while Anderson came off the bench to score 10. The Sooners shot 55.2% (16-29) from the field in the first half, but the Huskies limited Oklahoma to a 30.8% (8-26) performance in the second half. Conversely, UConn shot 31.3% in the first half (10-32) and 55.2% (16-29) in the second half.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES-- Leading the way for the Huskies is the sophomore duo of Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor. Gordon is averaging 21.1 points per game, 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds. Okafor has nine double-double's and is averaging 16.9 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per contest. Senior Tony Robertson is thriving in the sixth man role, averaging 11.5 points, while grabbing 3.1 rebounds. Junior Taliek Brown is averaging 7.8 points and 6.9 assists in his third season as the starting Husky point guard. Freshman Denham Brown has started all ten games at the small forward spot. He is averaging 8.6 points. Senior Mike Hayes has started the past seven games at the power forward spot and is averaging 3.3 points and 4.7 rebounds on the season.
NOTING AN UNBEATEN START-- UConns 9-0 start was the fourth time under Jim Calhoun and sixth time in school history that the Huskies started at least 9-0. Only five teams at UConn have bettered a 9-0 start, but each went on to win at least their first 11 games. UConn started 19-0 in 1998-99, 15-0 in 1994-95, 14-0 in 1953-54, and 11-0 in 1991-92 and 1980-81. Husky squads in 1993-94, 1985-86, 1964-65, 1954-55 and 1952-53 each started the year 8-0, but each lost in game nine... This also marked the ninth time UConn has entered the month of January undefeated, four times under Calhoun.
UCONN IN THE NATIONAL POLLS-- UConn is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 and No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 (through games of January 5). The No. 3 ranking is the highest during the regular season since the Huskies were ranked No. 2 on January 4, 2000. UConn was last ranked No. 3 in the nation during the week of December 14, 1999. The Huskies were ranked for the final three polls in 2001-02 and five weeks total last season. UConn has been ranked at least one week in the national polls during 14 of the past 15 seasons under Jim Calhoun... UConn has spent a total of 106 weeks in the top ten of the Associated Press poll since the 1989-90 season and is back in the top ten of the AP poll during the regular season for the first time since January 2, 2001. The Huskies finished last season No. 10 in the final AP poll and was No. 6 in the final ESPN/USA Today ranking.
SERIES HISTORY & NOTES-- Connecticut and Miami will meet for the 21st time in the series history, with the Huskies holding a 13-7 advantage... Jim Calhoun is 12-7 vs. Miami and Perry Clark is 2-2 vs. UConn... UConn is 6-2 against Miami at Gampel Pavilion. The Hurricanes are one of only two visiting schools to record more than one win in the building. St, Johns has won three times in Gampel. The Hurricanes are the only opponent to beat UConn in consecutive trips to Gampel, winning in 1999 and 2000... The teams split two games in 2001-02, with UConn taking a one-point home win and the Canes taking a two-point home win. Both games came down to the loser having the ball at the buzzer and missing an opportunity to tie or win the game.
UCONN IN BIG EAST PLAY-- The Huskies have compiled an overall BIG EAST record of 231-180. Under Jim Calhoun, UConn is 193-112 in BIG EAST play and the 193 league wins place Calhoun third among all-time winningest coaches in league history. Calhoun trails only Jim Boeheim (273) and John Thompson (231).
BEASTS OF THE BIG EAST-- Since the beginning of the 1997-98 season, UConn has compiled a league record of 62-22, outdistancing the rest of the league by five games. In that six-season span, UConn is followed by Miami (57-28), St. Johns (57-29) and Syracuse (55-30). In that time, UConn has won three regular season and three tournament championships.
BIG EAST OPENERS-- UConn has a record of 12-11 in conference openers. The Huskies are 6-5 when the opener comes at home and 6-6 when the opener comes on the road. UConn has played its first BIG EAST game of the season at Gampel Pavilion on three occasions, winning all three. The Huskies beat West Virginia in 1997-98, and St. Johns in 1992-93 and 1991-92.
BIG EAST HOME OPENERS-- UConn is 17-6 in the BIG EAST home opener. The Huskies are 6-0 in Gampel, 7-5 in the Hartford Civic Center, 3-0 in the Hugh Greer Field House and 1-1 in the New Haven Coliseum. UConn has won 11 of its last 12 home league openers, the only loss coming to Notre Dame at the Civic Center in 1999-00.
HUSKIES IN GAMPEL-- UConn has a record of 81-12 in Gampel Pavilion, 36-4 against non-conference opponents and 45-8 vs. BIG EAST competition. The Huskies have won 16 of their last 17 games in Gampel, last losing in the building on March 18, 2001 to Detroit Mercy in the second round of the NIT. UConn is 3-0 in Gampel this season, beating Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Wagner.
GORDON LEADS THE WAY-- Sophomore Ben Gordon leads the Huskies in scoring at 21.1 points per game. He has topped the 20-point mark on six occasions and had 31 vs. Sacred Heart and 29 vs. Wagner and UNC Asheville. For the season, he is averaging 21.1 ppg, shooting 46.7 from field, 48.3 from three and 87.5 from the line... He also averages 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds... He has increased his scoring average from 12.6 as a freshman, a jump of 8.5 points per game. Gordons career numbers to date are strikingly similiar to Ray Allen. Both averaged 12.6 points as a frosh coming off the bench as the sixth man. Ray averaged 21.1 as a sophomore in 1994-95.
NEXT STOP: 1,000-- Senior Tony Robertson will continue his pursuit of 1,000 career points entering the Oklahoma game. Robertson has 952 career points entering the game and is averaging 11.5 points per game in 2002-03 off the Husky bench in his sixth man role. He has reached double figures in six games this season.
TALIEK CONTINUES TO DISH-- Junior Taliek Brown leads the Huskies in assists with 69 (6.9 per game) and has committed only 20 turnovers in ten games. Taliek is second in the BIG EAST Conference and is ranked No. 12 nationally, through games of January 7. Taliek has 398 career assists, 5.2 per game. His 398 assists are No. 9 all-time at UConn. He has had a pair of 10-assist games on the season and seven in his career. That total ties him with Tate George for second place in double-figure assist games. Kevin Ollie holds the school record with nine double figure assist efforts in his career. Ollie also shares the single game record of 14 with Earl Kelley. Ollie reached 14 assists on two occasions.
OKAFOR ON THE BOARDS-- Sophomore Emeka Okafor is second in the nation (through games of January 7) in rebounding at 12.6 boards per game. He has recorded double figure boards in every game this season and has nine double-doubles. He grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds in the win over Wagner, which tied the Gampel Pavilion record for rebounds in a game with Rod Sellers. Okafor has a ways to go to catch John Thomas, who grabbed double figure rebounds in 18 straight games to end the 1975-76 season. He also has 16 career double-doubles. Okafor had back-to-back double-doubles on three occasions as a freshman, but never reeled off three in a row.
BLOCK PARTY CONTINUES-- Emeka Okafor also leads the nation (through games of January 7) in blocked shots, averaging 5.3 per contest. Okafor set a UConn single season record in 2001-02 with 138 blocked shots and has 191 (4.3/game) in his 44-game career as a Husky, currently third on the UConn career list. Jake Voskuhl, currently with the Phoenix Suns, (1997-00) is second on the blocked shot list with 193 blocks in his 138 career contests, while Donyell Marshall, currently with the Chicago Bulls, (1992-94) holds the career mark of 245 in his 91 career contests.
CALHOUN HOLDS UCONN WIN % MARK-- Head Coach Jim Calhoun enters the game with Miami with a record at UConn of 385-150, a winning percentage of 71.96%. With the win over Wagner on December 7, Calhoun surpassed former Husky coach Hugh Greer, who was 286-112 (71.859%) from 1946-63.
INSTANT OFFENSE FROM ANDERSON-- Freshman forward/guard Rashad Anderson has shaken off a slow start to his Husky career and become instant offense off the UConn bench. Over the past five games, Anderson is averaging 11.4 points (57 pts.) and has hit on 13-of-26 threes (50.0%)... In the win over St. Bonaventure, it took Anderson only six seconds after checking into the game to fire and hit his first three-pointer, keying a Husky comeback from an early 10-point deficit. In the back-to-back wins over UMass (16 points) and UNC Asheville (13 points), Anderson scored 20 points in 35 total minutes off the bench, hitting on 9-of-17 shots from the field and 7-of-13 from three-point range. He keyed the comeback in the UMass game, hitting three three-pointers in the crushing 29-2 second half run and knocked down 4-of-6 threes in the win over Asheville... For the season, he is averaging 6.7 points and 11.2 minutes per game. In the first five games, Anderson played a total of only 25 minutes and scored 10 points.
DENHAM IN DOUBLES AGAIN-- Freshman forward Denham Brown has started all nine games for the Huskies at the small forward spot and is fourth on the squad in scoring at 8.6 per game and also grabs 3.4 boards per game. He is shooting 44.4% from three-point range, hitting on 12-of-27 attempts. He has scored in double figures in three of the last five games and has reached double figures on five occasions on the year. That includes 13 points in the road win at Vanderbilt, all of which came in the first half, and a career-best 15 in the win over UNC Asheville.
ALSO OF NOTE-- Freshman Marcus White made his first career appearance in the win over UNC Asheville, scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds in nine minutes of play... Senior Mike Hayes made his first career start against Sacred Heart and made the most of it. He totaled a career-best nine points and tied his career-high of nine rebounds, set a game earlier vs. Vanderbilt... Junior Taliek Brown and sophomore Ben Gordon each had 10 assists in the win over Sacred Heart, marking the first time in UConn history that teammates registered double-digit assist totals in the same game... Senior Tony Robertson poured in 21 points off the bench against GW, extending his membership in a select group to accomplish the feat under Jim Calhoun. Robertson also scored 22 off the bench vs. Fairfield as a freshman. He is joined in the club by Brian Fair (9 times in his career), Ben Gordon (5 times), Ray Allen (4 times), Johnnie Selvie (4 times), Phil Gamble (3 times), John Gwynn (2 times) and Rashamel Jones (1 time)... Junior Shamon Tooles made the most of his first career start, in the opener vs. Quinnipiac, recording career-highs in nearly every category, including his eight points and eight rebounds.
A NEW CAPACITY AT GAMPEL-- The Harry A. Gampel Pavilion has a new seating capacity after a six-month renovation project. The new capacity is 10,167, an addition of 140 seats to the arena. The project consisted of the construction of new complexes for both basketball programs, including locker rooms, lounges and staff offices. A new training room, weight room, study hall and office complex for the Athletic Communications staff were also a part of the project. The additional seats are in the two end zones.
NEW TO THE STAFF-- UConn has two new additions to the basketball staff for the 2002-03 season. Assistant Coach Clyde Vaughan joined the staff in May, replacing Dave Leitao, who became the Head Coach at DePaul University. Vaughan is no stranger to fans of BIG EAST basketball, enjoying a standout career at the University of Pittsburgh from 1980-84. Vaughan led the BIG EAST in scoring in 1982-83 and was a two-time All-BIG EAST selection. He is the No. 2 all-time scorer at Pitt. Also joining the basketball support staff is Athletic Trainer Jason Miller. Miller replaces Joe Sharpe, who took a position with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Miller spent the past four seasons as the basketball trainer at Auburn University. Miller is a graduate of Iowa.
HAZELTON LEAVES SQUAD-- Sophomore forward Scott Hazelton (Somerville, MA) has left the basketball program, it was announced by Head Coach Jim Calhoun Tuesday, December 17. Hazelton appeared in 42 games in his Husky career, averaging 2.5 points and 1.7 rebounds. He had seen action in five games in 2002-03, averaging 12.0 minutes per game, 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds.
HUSKIES ON TELEVISION-- UConn will have 24 of its 27 regular season games televised this season, including 10 appearances on national television. The only three games not being televised this year were the contests against George Washington, Sacred Heart and St. Bonaventure. UConn will appear two times on CBS (St. Johns at Gampel Pavilion, at Pittsburgh), seven times on ESPN (at UNC, at Miami, at St. Johns, at Providence, Syracuse at the HCC, at Notre Dame and at Boston College) and once on espn2 (at Oklahoma). The other 14 TV appearances in the regular season will be appear locally on WTXX-TV, Channel 20.
HUSKIES ON RADIO-- For the 11th consecutive season, WTIC-AM 1080 will serve as the flagship station of the UConn Radio Network and broadcast the Huskies across the state and the region. Calling the action will be Joe DAmbrosio and Wayne Norman. In addition to WTIC (1080-AM), other stations carrying the games will be WILI (1400-AM), WLIS (1420-AM), WMRD (1150-AM) and WICC (600-AM).
LIVE ON THE NET-- Every game all season can be heard live on the internet via www.UConnHuskies.com. Fans can also track all home games and selected road games statistically in real time at the same address.
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT HCC-- Tickets for UConn games at the Hartford Civic Center are on sale now. Tickets are available via TicketMaster by calling 860-525-4500 (Hartford) or 203-624-0033 (New Haven), visiting any TicketMaster outlet or ordering online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at UConn Athletic Ticket Office in the Greer Field House in Storrs, CT, which is open M-F, 9:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m., cash or check only please.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE-- UConn returns to action on Saturday, January 11 with a noon contest against the Hurricanes of the University of Miami, the BIG EAST opener for the Huskies. The game will be televised live on WTXX-TV 20 in Connecticut and calling the action will be Bob Picozzi and Ron Perry. The game can also be heard on the UConn Radio Network, with WTIC-AM 1080 serving as the flagship station. Live stats and audio are also available via the official website of UConn Athletics, www.UConnHuskies.com.