The 15th-ranked Huskies moved to 11-1 on the season after a 82-65 victory over Eastern Washington that included senior point guard Shabazz Napier leading the way with 15 points and nine assists. He was one of five UConn players to end up in double figures, along with Ryan Boatright (14), Niels Giffey (13), Omar Calhoun (12) and Phillip Nolan (11).
The game was played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. Afterward, coach Kevin Ollie started his press conference by thanking all 9,274 fans in attendance.
"First of all, I want to thank the crowd. I think there were a lot of families in the audience that have probably never seen us play before," Ollie said. "I felt the energy from the crowd. It was just a great family atmosphere. It took them a while to really start cheering because we didn't really give them an opportunity. We were playing really good defense, but we were giving up offensive rebounds."
This was UConn's first home game away from Storrs or Hartford since 1987.
Despite the slow start -- UConn led by seven at the half -- Ollie's team was aggressive offensively. They attacked the basket and attempted 27 free throws (and converted 25 of them).
"I think they looked at us and said, 'look, we can go inside against these guys,'" Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford said afterwards. "They're a much quicker team, and that's why you had the discrepancy in fouls. ... If they can go 25 for 27 from the line every game, they'll be in the Final Four.
That's the plan, although Ollie would readily admit that there is plenty his team needs to work on. That said, with the American Athletic Conference schedule about to begin, he has to be happy with the 11 wins and relatively consistent play.
Up next: The Huskies face Houston on New Year's Eve in their AAC opener.