Second-Half Run Lifts Huskies

HARTFORD – Connecticut freshman Andre Drummond wasn't exactly sure what the problem was. He thought there might have been an emergency in the XL Center and that was why coach Jim Calhoun was urging his team to the bench just five seconds into the second half.

"I didn't know what was happening, I thought something happened in the crowd or something went wrong and he needed us to get back on the bench," Drummond said. "I've never seen a timeout called that fast. He sprinted to the timeout too. I can't reenact what he did. It was ridiculous. I had never seen that before."

There was only one thing wrong. Calhoun was mad. And he wasn't going to take it any more.

Calhoun thought he had clearly stated his final point before leaving the locker room at halftime of No. 4 UConn's 80-60 victory over Maine Thursday night.

"Full speed offense," Calhoun told the Huskies (3-0) on their way back to the court. But when guard Jeremy Lamb received the inbound pass to start the second half, he elected to walk the ball up the floor. That wasn't even close to what Calhoun had wanted.

"Shows you the genius I am," Calhoun said. "It took us five seconds to get the ball across . . . through the Husky [logo]. Jeremy caught the ball. It took him five seconds to dribble through the Husky. Once again, I don't know what the Husky record is. But I know one thing for sure; it's not five seconds.

"I hate taking timeouts. I hate yanking them in and out, but we've got to start developing our rhythm. . . . I don't think we know who we are."

When the timeout was over, Lamb (16 points) was on the bench with the coaching staff.

"Yeah, I was surprised," Lamb said. "It woke us up some, so yeah, I guess it was a good wakeup call. He said a lot of stuff [to me.] He's just pushing me. I wasn't playing as hard as I could."

One person who knew exactly what was happening was Maine coach Ted Woodward. Calhoun's assistant during the Hall of Fame coach's first three years at UConn, Woodward knew the Black Bears (1-1) were in trouble at that moment.

"I do believe I've seen that once before – a long time ago," Woodward said. "So I wasn't surprised. Obviously Coach Calhoun has always been great to me. I'm thrilled with all the success he's had. I know how he's trying to work them to motivate them. When they get to the point that they are mature and use all the gifts they have, they're going to be a hard team to beat throughout the season."

Even without their best player, senior guard Gerald McLemore (knee injury), the Black Bears put up a good fight in the first half and only trailed 36-31 at halftime. The Huskies attacked to take a 7-0 lead and then enraged their coach by going through the motions.

"I just haven't seen the enthusiasm with this particular group," Calhoun said. "Particularly when there are eight kids back from a team that had the ultimate experience of success last year. I thought [Maine battled] the heck out of us for a good 25 or 28 minutes."

Woodward brought his team out in a 3-2 zone that froze the Huskies offensively. UConn shot 36.8 percent in the first half. But after the shock of that second-half timeout, the Huskies got moving. They outscored Maine 23-2 to start the second half. The Black Bears didn't score until 17:35 left and they trailed 59-33 with about 10 minutes left. UConn's biggest lead was 31.

Alex Oriakhi scored 11 points in the second half to tie Lamb as UConn's leading scorer with 16 points. DeAndre Daniels, making his first start, scored 15. And Tyler Olander turned in another solid performance with a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds).

But Drummond pleased Calhoun the most. The highly regarded freshman scored 11 points and would have had more if not for a 1-for-8 performance from the free throw line. He had 14 rebounds – 11 on the offensive glass. He blocked four shots and has one steal in 27 minutes.

"I thought the only guy who played well, really well, was Andre," Calhoun said. "I'll take the package he is right now, trust me. There are very few guys who can do what he can do. I don't care who he's playing."

Calhoun didn't come out and say it, but Drummond might get his first start Sunday against Coppin State. His minutes have gone up from 12 in the opener against Columbia, to 18 against Wagner, and now 27 against Maine.

"We'll take a look at Coppin State, but I'm not going to keep a guy who had 11 offensive rebounds on the bench," Calhoun said. "He took a big step forward tonight."

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