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Friday, 14 November 2008 19:23
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 STORRS, Conn. (AP) -Hasheem Thabeet had 23 points and 17 rebounds to lead No. 2 Connecticut to a season-opening 81-55 win over Western Carolina on Friday night.
The 7-foot-3 junior, who towered at least 7 inches over any defender for the Catamounts, also blocked five shots. He was 7-of-11 from the field, with most of his attempts from inside 5 feet.
The Huskies extended their winning streak at Gampel Pavilion to 46 games in November and December, dating to the opening of the arena in 1990. UConn is 19-4 in season openers under coach Jim Calhoun.
Brandon Giles led Western Carolina with 16 points.
UConn's A.J Price was ejected from the game in the second half after punching Western Carolina's Joey Parker in the stomach as the two were battling for position. He did not score.
No. 5 Pittsburgh 86, Fairleigh Dickinson 63
PITTSBURGH (AP) - DeJuan Blair was overpowering inside with 17 points and 13 rebounds in slightly more than a half and Pittsburgh got a big lift from point guard Levance Fields' return from a broken foot.
air scored eight points during a 16-2 surge in the first 6 1/2 minutes as Pittsburgh won its 12th consecutive season opener.
Fields' status was uncertain until minutes before gametime. The senior missed a dozen games with a broken left foot last season, then fractured it again in August and needed a bone graft operation. He missed Pitt's two exhibition games, but had no visible problems with his foot while getting 15 points and eight assists in 25 minutes.
Eric Moore scored 17 for Fairleigh Dickinson (0-1). John Galvin added 14 and Alvin Mofunanya scored 13.
No. 7 Texas 68, Stetson 38
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A.J. Abrams scored 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Texas opened the season with a victory.
The Longhorns' career leader in 3-pointers with 289, Abrams made four in the first half. The wispy 5-foot-11 guard had considered going to the NBA after last season, but opted to return to the Longhorns for his senior season. It was his 18th game with at least five 3-pointers.
Connor Atchley added 14 points for Texas, which returns four starters and nine of the top 10 scorers from the squad won a school-record 31 games last season.
Texas held Stetson (0-1) to 18 points in the first half and just 26 percent shooting for the game. A.J. Smith scored 12 points for Stetson.
No. 11 Purdue 82, Detroit Mercy 50
elp Purdue get the win.
Moore was a second-team all-Big Ten selection last season, but Purdue's depth has forced him into a reserve role. He made six of 12 shots, including three of four 3-pointers, in 23 minutes.
JaJuan Johnson scored 17 points, and Robbie Hummel added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (1-0).
Thomas Kennedy led Mercy (0-1) with 18 points, and Eulis Stephens added 12 for the Titans.
No. 12 Oklahoma 83, American 54
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Blake Griffin had 24 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for Oklahoma.
The Sooners shot 53.8 percent from the field and have won 22 of their last 24 season openers, including six in a row.
The 6-foot-10 Griffin, who opted to return for his sophomore season with the Sooners instead of jumping into the NBA, wasn't perfect - he went only 5-of-14 from the free-throw line - but he went 9-of-11 from the field, including his first career 3-pointer.
Brian Gilmore led American (0-1) with 16 points.
No. 16 Marquette 95, Houston Baptist 64
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Wesley Matthews scored a career-high 27 points and Marquette won easily in Buzz Williams' debut as the Golden Eagles' coach.
Jerel McNeal had 20 points and Lazar Hayward added 19 points and 12 rebounds for Marquette. The Golden Eagles never trailed and broke open the game with a 14-0 spurt to start the second half.
, shortly after Tom Crean became the coach at Indiana. Williams was an assistant under Crean last season and served as head coach at the University of New Orleans in 2006-07.
Gordon Watt led Houston Baptist with 17 points.
No. 19 Florida 80, Toledo 58
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Dan Werner scored 19 points for Florida, and Nick Calathes added 16 points and seven assists.
The Gators, trying to rebound from missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade, won their 18th consecutive season opener and improved to 51-6 under coach Billy Donovan in November.
Jonathan Amos led Toledo with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Calathes was Florida's catalyst, despite a potential distraction.
Calathes acknowledged truth to a story first reported by Yahoo.com that said he ran up a $600 debt playing poker online, but was adamant he did nothing illegal. Coach Billy Donovan said an investigation by the school's athletic department found no evidence of wrongdoing.
No. 20 Davidson 107, Guilford 83
DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) - Stephon Curry scored 29 points and set career highs with 10 assists and nine steals for Davidson.
Davidson led by 12 points at halftime, then went on a 23-5 burst capped by Curry's three-point play for a big cushion.
Clay Henson scored 21 for the Division III Quakers (0-1).
g their 17th straight home opener. Andrew Lovedale added 16 points.
No. 21 Wake Forest 94, North Carolina Central 48
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Freshman Al-Farouq Aminu had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help Wake Forest cruise to the win in its season opener.
James Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Teague added 14 points for the Demon Deacons. They led by 31 points before the Eagles made their second field goal.
Jamar Briscoe had 18 points and J'Mell Walters added 11 for N.C. Central (0-1).
No. 23 Villanova 78, Albany 60
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Scottie Reynolds scored all 13 of his points in the second half to lead Villanova to the season-opening win.
Corey Stokes and Dante Cunningham added 13 apiece for the Wildcats, who won their first game of the season at The Pavilion for the 18th year in a row. Antonio Pena scored 12, Reggie Redding had 11 and Corey Fisher 10.
Will Harris and Anthony Raffa scored 13 points apiece for Albany.
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