The final score may have shown the No. 2 UConn Huskies won 99-56 but this game was tight through the first 24 minutes. After that it was all Huskies as they used a 33-5 run to put away the Hawks in front of 11,849 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.

Kemba Walker goes in for 2 of his career-high 21 points - AP PhotoCraig Austrie and Kemba Walker led the way for the Huskies (2-0) with both posting a career-high of 21 points. Walker added 4 assists starting for the injured A.J. Price. Jerome Dyson continued his good play as he added 18 points and Jeff Adrien chipped in with yet another double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds. Donnell Beverly had a good game off the bench as his 9 points sparked the Huskies in the first half.

The Hawks (0-2) were paced by Morgan Sabia’s 15 points. Joe Zeglinski added 15 points, a team-high 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Jaret Von Rosenberg contributed 9 points and a team-high 5 rebounds.

It took both teams a minute or so to get going as the Hawks got out a 2-0 lead on 2 free throws by Michael Turner. The Huskies then used a 12-2 to take a 12-4 lead. Two free throws by Austrie and a Hasheem Thabeet layup increased the Huskies lead to 22-12. The lead got as high as 11 points before the Hawks cut the lead to 5 points at 34-29 with 2:39 to play. The Huskies closed out the half with a 7-3 run to take a 12 point lead into the locker room.

The Hawks used a 12-4 run to start the half to cut the lead to 45-44 with 16:39 to play but that was it for the Hawks as it was all UConn the rest of the way as the Huskies would outscore them 54-12.

Early on the Huskies had trouble with the zone from Hartford but once things started clicking for the Huskies, they looked like the team everyone thought they would be even without Price leading them. Walker showed tonight that he can lead the team with his speed and explosiveness with the ball.

Next up for the Huskies is the LaSalle Explorers in the first round of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on Friday night at 6 PM. The game will be televised on My-TV9 here in Connecticut.

Notes and musings:

Hartford Hawks @ UConn Huskies 11.17.08 boxscore

The starters were Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Craig Austrie, Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet.

Former UConn Huskies Donyell Marshall and Donny Marshall were in the crowd tonight.

The Hawks are now 1-28 against teams from the Big East with their only win coming over UConn back in Jim Calhoun’s first season as UConn head coach in 1986.

The Huskies shot 48.2% (30-62) while Hartford shot 34.5% (19-55).

Both teams were pretty bad from behind the 3 points stripe as UConn was just 6-of-20 (30%) and the Hawks were just 6-of-25 (24%).

Once again the Huskies sucked ass at the free throw line as they shot 33-of-46 (71.7%). The biggest culprits were Jerome Dyson (0-for-3) and Jeff Adrien (4-for-9).

The Huskies won the battle of the boards 47-32.

Senior walk-on Johnny Bird scored the first points of his UConn career.

UConn had just 4 turnovers in the game while forcing 18 by the Hawks.

The Hawks committed 34 fouls in the game to just 16 for the Huskies.