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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 17, 2006

Connecticut - 89
Saint Mary's - 73

HARTFORD, Conn. -Jerome Dyson had 19 points and Jeff Adrien added 15 as No. 8 Connecticut beat Saint Mary's 89-73 Sunday to remain unbeaten.

The Huskies (9-0) stretched their home winning streak to 28 games. They are opening this season with 11 consecutive home games before their Big East opener Dec. 30 at West Virginia.

Connecticut shot 52 percent from the field and never trailed, using stifling man-to-man defense to hold Saint Mary's (6-6) to 37 percent shooting, 27 percent in the first half.

The Huskies used an 11-2 run midway through the first half to open a 29-17 lead. They built their margin to 21 points with 1:26 left in the half, when Dyson spun in the lane and used a hesitation move to lay the ball in over 6-foot-11 freshman Omar Samhan. The Huskies took a 47-26 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Saint Mary's outscored the Huskies 47-42 after intermission, but the outcome was never in doubt.

With the score 51-30 and 18:39 left in the game, A.J Price hit Dyson with an ally-oop pass, and on the next possession found him for a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 26. UConn would make that 29 before coasting the rest of the way.

Samhan had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Saint Mary's, his first double-double. Tron Smith led the Gaels with 15 points. Diamon Simpson had 11 points, but hit just three of his 12 shots.

The Huskies had 13 blocked shots in the game, but just three from their 7-foot-3 freshman center Hasheem Thabeet, who played much of the game in foul trouble. Another freshman, 6-11 Jonathan Mandeldove, had four blocks.

Thabeet and Price each had nine points for UConn and Price had eight assists. Eleven Huskies played at least 10 minutes.

The Huskies won their first eight games by an average of 29 points, holding opponents to 32.8 percent shooting - second lowest in the nation.

Saint Mary's is now 0-5 on the road this year. The Gaels have beaten only two top-25 teams in the last 30 years, Nevada a year ago and Gonzaga the previous season.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun needs eight more wins to reach 750 for his career.

UC Santa Barbara - 74
San Francisco - 69

San Francisco, Calif. - Alex Harris scored 21 points, including the final four of a decisive 8-0 run late in the second half, to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 74-69 victory over University of San Francisco Sunday at War Memorial Gym.

The win was the third one in a row for the Gauchos (7-2.) The Dons Alan Wiggins led all scorers with 24 points. UCSB's Ivan Elliott scored 13 points, Chris Devine had 12 and Cecil Brown made 11.

Wiggins bucket with 4:47 left had given USF (4-7) a 63-60 lead when the Gauchos went on their clinching spurt. In the next three minutes, James Powell hit two free throws, Brown a short jumper and Harris a pair of free throws and a lay-in to put the Gauchos ahead 68-63.

Wiggins cut the margin to 68-66 with a 3-point play with 39 seconds left, but UCSB maintained its margin by hitting six straight free throws - two each by Brown, Powell and Devine.

"We are still coming together as a team and UCSB is on a little bit of a roll," said Dons head coach Jessie Evans. "We got beat on the boards but the key statistic was that we did not make our free-throws. We cannot beat a god team like Santa Barbara when we make just 14 of 24. We left a lot of points on the line.

"Now we have four more games to jell as a team before conference play starts starting Wednesday in Hawaii."

The teams were tied 37-37 at halftime. UCSB had out-rebounded the Dons 19-9, but the committed 13 turnovers compared to USF's six.

Hitting 14 of its 16 attempts, UCSB enjoyed a big advantage in free throw percentage. USF hit 14 free throws out of 24 attempts.

Santa Barbara finished with a 38-26 advantage in rebounding and hit 53.1 percent of its field goal tries (26-for-49), compared to 44.1 per cent (26-for-49) for the Dons.

USF plays Hawai'i in the first round of the Rainbow Classic on Wednesday. The Dons will then play either Nebraska or Wyoming in the second round Friday and an undetermined opponent Saturday.