Calhoun, Boatright lead UConn men to victory
Updated 11:54 pm, Monday, December 17, 2012
HARTFORD (AP) -- Connecticut wanted to show that the Huskies care about the victims and the involved in the shooting of 20 children and six adults in their state last Friday.
It was UConn's first game since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
"We just wanted to make sure we came out here and put on a good show for the crowd and stick together as a team, and play for everybody that was in that tragedy," Calhoun said.
A pre-game ceremony was held and there was a moment of silence as 26 cheerleaders, members of the dance team and the band held candles and formed a circle with the UConn players at midcourt.
As a tribute to the victims at Sandy Hook, UConn players wore patches on the front of their jerseys with the white letters "SH" on a green background -- the elementary school's colors.
Boatright had the letters "SH" on his left cheek. Shabazz Napier wrote the number "26" on his right sock and "SH" on his left. Maryland-Eastern Shore guard Louis Bell had "S.H.E.S. Newtown, CT" and "12-14-12" -- the date of the incident -- on the back of each sneaker.
"Man, it was heartbreaking just to know what happened to those kids," Boatright said, adding he and teammate DeAndre Daniels have been watching the news all week. "I got two baby sisters that I've just seen that are the exact same age as the kids at the elementary school. It was a humbling experience and all my prayers go out to all the families."
UConn players attended a vigil on campus Sunday night. Coach Kevin Ollie said the team will plan to visit Newtown at some point in the future.
"We're going to go down there and have a good practice or whatever they want us to do," Ollie said. "We're going to be available for them and hopefully bring a smile or two to their faces."
Maryland-Eastern Shore played without point guard Kyree Jones, the team's leading scorer (16.6 ppg), because of a sore back. His absence was compounded by the superior perimeter shooting by UConn (8-2).
Calhoun, Boatright and Napier were a combined 20 of 25 from the field and made 9 of 11 3-point attempts. UConn finished 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.
Daniels scored 13 points and Napier had 11 point and eight assists for the Huskies.
Bell scored 12 points for the Hawks (0-10) and Ron Spencer had 11. Maryland-Eastern Shore shot 38.5 percent and had 16 turnovers.
"The first half, we hung in there pretty good," coach Frankie Allen said. "We ended up outrebounding them (30-26) for the game but they didn't miss many shots. That's a little deceptive."
Boatright scored 13 points in the first half and UConn shot 62.5 percent to take a 39-27 lead. Calhoun and Boatright combined to score 15 of the team's first 17 points in the second half. Boatright's steal and dunk capped a 15-0 run that pushed the lead to 65-33 with 11:44 remaining.
"Omar and Ryan have been doing extra work," Ollie said. "Our guards have been doing extra work. I know it's ball movement, but you still have to make the shot."