Jeff Adrien battles for a rebound - AP Photo

Okay, I will admit it. I was one of the naysayers who didn’t think UConn had a chance today without Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins. Well, they proved everybody, including myself, wrong and got a signature win for the season.

Craig Austrie filled in admirably for Dyson today as his free throws down the stretch helped the UConn Huskies hold on for the 68-63 upset of the Indiana Hoosiers in front of a raucous crowd at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. The win for the Huskies was their third in-a-row and second against a ranked opponent in six days.

After falling behind early in the game 9-0, the Huskies (14-5) finally got on the scoreboard when Stanley Robinson made 1-of-2 from the free throw line. With the Hoosiers leading 11-3, UConn started to mount it’s comeback.  They used a 14-5 run to take the lead at 17-16. Indiana (17-2) tied it up at 19 all. UConn then went on a 5-0 mini-run capped off by an A.J. Price 3-pointer to give the Huskies the lead. The teams exchanged a few baskets before the half as the Huskies would go into the locker room with a 29-24 lead.

Stanley Robinson dunks - AP PhotoUConn increased their lead to nine points early on in the second half when Robinson knocked down a three. Indiana momentarily closed the gap to five points before UConn took their biggest lead of the game at 50-39 with 7:35 to go in the game.  The Hoosiers tried to battle back but could get no closer than five points down the stretch as the Huskies made most of their free throws down the stretch. Luckily, the misses didn’t come back to haunt them this time.

The Huskies were led by Austrie who had 15 points, including 9 points from the charity stripe (9-12). Price chipped in with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. He did however commit 7 turnovers. Hasheem Thabeet added 12 points, most of them coming on dunks. Both Robinson and Jeff Adrien had identical double-doubles with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Armon Bassett led the Hoosiers with 18 points, with all of his points coming from behind the 3-point line. Freshman sensation Eric Gordon had 14 points while D.J. White had a double-double of his own with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Crawford came off the bench for the Hoosiers to add 10 points.

As I said at the top of the post, it was a signature win for the Huskies. What I mean by this is that it looks good come NCAA tournament time when the selection committee is reviewing your resume. When you win on the road against a top ten team, the committee will take notice of that.

The Huskies won this game on sheer will and their intense pressure defense. Indiana at times looked to struggle with this and the Huskies were able to use their great defense to their advantage. Early on in the game, the Hoosiers were passing the ball to score points. As the game wore on, they got away from the passing and looked a like a team of individuals. Playing shorthanded and on the road, the Huskies did what it took to win the game.

The Huskies will have only two days to celebrate the victory as they are back on the court Monday night against the Louisville Cardinals. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM and the game will be on ESPN as part of their “Big Monday” package.

Notes and musings:

The starters were A.J. Price, Craig Austrie, Stanley Robinson, Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet.

If you thought the suspension of Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins wasn’t a big deal think again. Take a look at the search terms for my blog today. Somehow Tom Brady’s injured foot slipped in there as well.

Dyson, Wiggins search terms on SOX & Dawgs

Indiana hadn’t lost at home since 2/11/06 against Iowa, making this the first home loss Indiana head coach Kelvim Sampson has suffered in his short time in Bloomington, IN.

Thabeet fell victim to the Indiana crowd late in the first half. Their was about 13 seconds on the shot clock when Thabeet hoisted an ill-advised shot. The reason is the crowd was doing a fake count of the shot clock and they were at 2 seconds. I guess that shows you the players do hear the crowd.

Golfing legend Fuzzy Zoeller was in the crowd at Assembly Hall.

UConn held Indiana to 37.2% (23-62) shooting in the game. The Huskies shot 43.4% (23-53).

UConn dominated the boards, outrebounding Indiana 44-28.

The Huskies scored 34 of their 68 points in the paint.