UConn Defeats Maine

It didn't take long for UConn's two graduate transfers to step up for the Huskies.

Sterling Gibbs scored 20 points, Shonn Miller had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 20 UConn rolled over Maine 100-56 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Gibbs, who also played at Texas and Seton Hall, also had four assists. Miller, who came over from Cornell, blocked three shots and had two steals.

"We just wanted to come in and be the best versions of us as possible and fit in where we could," Gibbs said.

UConn's 7-foot center Amida Brimah dominated underneath, finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots, one off a school record shared by Hasheem Thabeet, Emeka Okafor and Donyell Marshall.

Till Gloger led Maine with 17 points.

Connecticut led the entire game in its 84th win in the 100 meetings of the two programs. The Huskies were up by 12 at the break and scored 34 of the next 38 points to put it away.

Brimah had eight points and two blocks during an 11-0 run to open the second half. He hit seven of his eight shots and dunked home five lob passes.

"The only way you can have more energy is to have fun playing the game," he said.

The Huskies held Maine to 30 percent shooting while hitting 54.5 percent of their shots from the floor. They outscored Maine 54-22 in the paint and outrebounded the Black Bears 52-40.

Coach Kevin Ollie has been emphasizing a statistic he calls "kills," stopping the other team on three consecutive possessions. UConn had nine of those, he said, six in the second half.

"Our switching defense really gave them trouble and then we started rebounding the basketball," Ollie said. "Twenty assists, eight turnovers and 15 blocks is pretty good."

UConn took its first 30-point lead, 64-34, on a layup by Kentan Facey with just under 14 minutes left. Three minutes later the lead was 40 points after a 3-pointer by Omar Calhoun.

Rodney Purvis chipped in 10 points and Calhoun had eight for UConn, which is coming off a disappointing 20-15 season and a first-round loss in the NIT, a year after winning the national title.

Maine had its worst season when it went 3-27 a year ago in coach Bob Walsh's first year with the program.

"We showed a level of fight that I really liked at halftime," Walsh said. "I have no idea what I did or what I said, but we certainly didn't have it at the same level coming out in the second half."

The Huskies played without senior forward Phil Nolan, who injured his right foot in the Huskies' final exhibition game.

UConn has won 59 of its last 71 openers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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