HARTFORD, CT (December 30, 2004) Sophomore center Josh Boone (Mt. Airy, Md.) scored a career-high 22 points to lead seven teammates in double figures in a record-setting performance as 11th-ranked Connecticut drilled in-state rival Quinnipiac, 123-71, Thursday evening before a sellout crowd of 16,294 at the Hartford Civic Center. The win, the Huskies fourth in a row, improves the UConn record to 8-1, while the Bobcats drop to 4-5.
Boone paced an impressive offensive attack as the Huskies set a school mark for most points ever scored at the Hartford Civic Center. Boone scored at least 20 points for the fourth consecutive contest, and yanked down 10 rebounds, enabling him to record his seventh double-double of the year, and the fourth in a row. Boone also blocked a career-high eight Bobcat shots, as the nations leading shot-blocking team blocked 17 shots. Sophomore forward Charlie Villanueva (Brooklyn, N.Y.) played his third straight solid outing, scoring 17 points and he tied his career-high with a game-best 13 rebounds.
Boone and Villanueva had plenty of company from their teammates in the scoring column. Freshman Rudy Gay (Baltimore, Md.) had 15 points while junior Denham Brown (Toronto, Ont.) added 13 points off of the bench. Guards Rashad Anderson (Lakeland, Fla.) and Antonio Kellogg (Oakland, Calif.) each had 12 points, while sophomore Hilton Armstrong (Peekskill, N.Y.) chipped in with 11 and Marcus Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) had 10. Williams had a game-best 10 assists to record his first career double-double. Kellogg added a career-best nine assists as UConn had 25 in the contest. Junior Ed Nelson (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) had nine points and six rebounds off of the Husky bench.
UConn had their way with the smaller Bobcats, scoring 72 points in the paint and converting 22 offensive rebounds into 30 second-chance points. The Huskies, who entered the contest leading the nation in rebounding margin, added to that mark, out-rebounding Quinnipiac 60-30.
UConn actually trailed 8-2 early in the contest, and the game was tied at 13 before the Huskies closed the half on a 43-18 run to lead 56-31 at intermission. The Huskies shot 54 percent from the field in the opening period as Boone had 17 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting effort.
The game marked the 57th straight victory for the Huskies over in-state competition. Rob Monroe led the Bobcats with 16 points.
The Huskies return to action on Wednesday, January 5, when they open up BIG EAST play by playing host to Boston College at the Hartford Civic Center. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m., and the game will be televised by Fox-61.
POST GAME QUOTES
Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun
"During the Sacred Heart game, we just didnt show the kind of enthusiasm or cohesiveness. Thats what we preached (in the last 48 hours), more with a feather than with a baseball bat. I just really felt that the best thing to do was try to put to them that we basically have about nine Thursdays left, and then well be approaching our last game. And when you start putting it into that context that were only a couple of months away from the month of March, and were closing down against Syracuse, etc. it makes it into a short season. And why wouldnt you want to enjoy what youre doing, do it exceptionally well, and do it together? Because thats all you have. And you have each other."
"Against Sacred Heart, I was disappointed that we saw some adversity and then didnt band together to try to get something done."
"Obviously, Joey got stuck into a situation we came out I almost think, and its kind of funny to say, we couldnt wait to play, so, therefore, we didnt during the first three or four minutes. But from that point on, we played with enthusiasm, we played by moving the basketball, we sprinted down the court even when we didnt have anything. And then Joey ran his offense exceptionally well, but hey got nothing on the break because we got back very well. And then every time their offense, which is designed, eventually, to get a nice cut inside, there was Josh, there was Hilton, there were all kinds of big people, Rudy, etc. I dont care what team you are, when a team gets 60 rebounds on you, when just about every shot you take is contested, its very discouraging. It really is. And they really executed their offense well, but after a while, they would run a really good back cut, beat somebody, and then Josh would come from the weak side and block the shot."
"We happen to be fortunate enough to have some kids that can go up and really bother shots, get shots."
"Josh was magnificent. That was his fourth consecutive game over 20. We kept him in to get the ten rebounds. He deserved the double double the way he was playing. He had eight blocked shots and was only two away from the triple double, but given the score, I just couldnt leave him in any longer."
Quinnipiac Head Coach Joe DeSantis
"I just thought that we competed early hard we just ran out of gas and they are too good for us. They beat us every which way but loose. It was hard to believe from my end that we were down 25 at the half, I thought we played as well as we could play. They beat us inside in the first half, they were 2-9 from 3. We just couldnt match them inside. They just overwhelmed us, that happens, theyre a great team, we move on."
"I thought they really paid a lot of attention to Rob Monroe, they hounded him full court, they made it hard for him, he was a warrior out there, hes playing 39 minutes a game. I thought they paid special attention to him and that hurt us."
On Josh Boone
"He has just gotten so much better, every year that he moves forward he gets better. You assume some of the roles that the previous players had."
On the defense
"Marcus and Antonio really played great defense on him. He wasnt getting any open looks most of his baskets had to come from a drive and having to put up a tough shot. That shows that our guards have lock-up potential."
On the play of the front court players
"Its good that all of us are playing real well. Hilton stepped in real good and played real well. Ed had almost double figures he had 9 points and 5 or 6 rebounds. All of us are starting to flow and get comfortable with ourselves and comfortable with the offense."
On looking up at the clock with only a few seconds left in the 1st half
"I looked up at the clock. I didnt want to travel or anything with the ball, but I took a quick look and saw there were a couple of seconds left and that I was going to be able to put the ball on the floor maybe once. And then I saw Rashad up ahead, so I just threw the pass up and hoped that he got it because if he didnt I was going to get yelled at."
Did this game help the teams confidence?
"Were really starting to flow as a team. Were really starting to have some fun out there and thats what the main thing is. We play a whole lot better when were actually having fun."
Is the team ready for Big East play?
"I think we are ready. I think we know the competition were up against."
On tonights game
"Pretty much everything was working
.mistakes here and there early
but we came out to compete and set the tone early. We just tried to go in there and play our hardest, play 110% and let the momentum carry us into the Boston College game."
On playing with Josh Boone
"One thing about playing with Josh, he can find me and I can find him. We have a good relationship and play well together. There are not a lot of players in the country that play this well together."
On Josh Boones improvement
"There has been a dramatic change in him. Last year he wasnt even a scorer, he was more of a defensive stopper. This year he is just doing it all, blocking shots, scoring, rebounding, everything."
On getting into BIG East play
"I think we are ready, there are a couple of things we need to improve. But that is something in every season. But Im excited to get into BIG East play, Im ready to go."
"That is one thing that Im going to start to do more of. The more I smile, the better I feel. Everybody is just having fun
basketball is a fun game
we just need to show enthusiasm and passion and we can definitely do it."
"Coach Calhoun was on us about being real intense and being happy to play basketball, thats what were here for."
"The big men did a really good job Charlie had a career-high 13 rebounds, Josh did what he did, and Hilton came in and played big minutes."
On scoring 123 points
"I think its a confidence booster for us. We got a lot of rebounds and threw some great outlets. I think were going to go into Big East play very, very confident."
Is the team ready for Big East play?
"I dont think were as ready as we could be. We have about 4 days of practice to get ready for Boston College."