Originally created 02/17/99

No. 2 Huskies roll to win over Rutgers



STORRS, Conn. -- Second-ranked Connecticut didn't look as crisp as it did for the 10 weeks it was the No. 1 team in the country, but the Huskies had enough for an easy 77-64 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday night.

The Huskies (23-1, 14-1 Big East) broke the 70-point mark for the first time in five games, but again an injury was the main concern at game's end. Starting center Jake Voskuhl missed almost the entire second half with a sore left foot, the same one that caused him to miss the game with Syracuse, the Huskies' only loss of the season.

Richard Hamilton, the team's leading scorer at 21 points per game, again struggled from the field in his third game back from missing two games -- one the loss to Syracuse -- with a right thigh bruise. He had 21 points on 5-for-16 shooting and is averaging 14 points since his return and is 13-for-47 from the field, including 2-for-20 from 3-point range.

The Huskies shot 53 percent (28-for-53), the first time they have shot better than 42 percent in the last five games.

Rutgers (17-8, 9-6), which had won its last three games and seven of eight, trailed 36-25 at halftime, but was within 57-51 with 6:21 to play on a driving basket by Rob Hodgson.

Connecticut asserted itself on the boards -- the Huskies finished with a 37-25 advantage -- and built the lead to 69-57 on a three-point play by Kevin Freeman with 3:14 left. Hamilton went 6-for-6 from the foul line over the final 1:20 to keep the Scarlet Knights at bay.

Connecticut point guard Khalid El-Amin did not start for the first time this season for disciplinary reasons that coach Jim Calhoun said were not violations of team rules. El-Amin was in the game after 4:18 had been played and he finished with eight points on 4-for-11 shooting with five turnovers.

Freeman finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Albert Mouring added 11 points.

Geoff Billet had 20 points for Rutgers, which has lost eight straight games to Connecticut and trails 23-12 in the series, while Hodgson had 10.