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UConn extended its Big East tournament winning steak to six straight with a convincing 81-67 win over DePaul today in first round action at Madison Square Garden.
The ninth-seeded Huskies own the fourth longest winning streak in tournament history.
Coach Jim Calhoun won his 34th career tournament game, passing Georgetown's John Thompson and moving into second place all-time.
UConn (19-12) advances to face No. 8 seed West Virginia at noon Wednesday. The Huskies won the regular season meeting, 64-57 Jan. 9 in Hartford.
Some post-game news, notes and quotes:
-- Dating back to last year's post-season run, the Huskies have won 12 in a row.
-- Calhoun was a bit emotional after the game. He talked about his comeback from a lower back condition that forced him to miss eight games.
It was his second game back today.
"I'm trying to coach this basketball team, and that's my job," Calhoun said. "But it's also my love."
Check out the attached video of Calhoun's post-game remarks.
-- The Huskies have won two straight for the first time since beating West Virginia (Jan. 9) and Notre Dame (Jan. 14).
"At this point, you've got to build off anything you can," junior Alex Oriakhi said.
-- All-Big East first team pick Jeremy Lamb had his best conference tournament game of his short career. He finished with a game-high 25 points and became the 46th player in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark in his career.
Lamb has scored in double figures in all six of his conference tournament appearances.
-- Freshman Ryan Boatright also played well, coming off the bench to score 19 points. Freshman Andre Drummond added 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks. Junior Alex Oriakhi had nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
-- Boatright, who's from the Chicago area, ran the team for most of the game because Napier got into foul trouble. He had seven assists and four turnovers in 33 minutes.
-- The Huskies came into the game shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point land. They converted 8-of-13 today, starting out by sinking seven straight.
"We moved the ball well," Lamb said.
Lamb (3-for-6), Boatright (2-for-2), Roscoe Smith (2-for-4) and Shabazz Napier (1-1) scored from beyond the arc.
UConn shot 53.4 percent from the field overall. But it went just 11-for-24 from the foul line. Drummond was 0-for-6.
DePaul finished shooting 32.4 percent from the field.
-- Calhoun did something unexpected during his post-game press conference.
He thanked the media for the way it handled his back problem.
"I would be remised if I didn't thank, generally speaking, almost everybody in the media for the way you've treated this," Calhoun said. "You reported what happened, you didn't make value judgments about it."
-- Former UConn standout Caron Butler attended the game and visited the locker room. The Huskies dressed in the New York Knicks locker room.
-- Associate head coach George Blaney on West Virginia: "I think Jim (Calhoun) enjoys playing Bobby (Huggins) because they both go at it so hard. It's always a good game to be involved in."
The Mountaineers received a first round bye.
-- The Big East handed out its major individual awards today. South Florida's Stan Heath won top coach while St. John's Moe Harkless (rookie-of-the-year) and Marquette's Jae Crowder (top player) also were honored.
-- Check back tomorrow for more on the Huskies.
For regular updates, follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.