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Huskies too deep, talented for Red Storm

And all the while, there was the Red Storm's Lamont Hamilton and Dexter Gray, left to battle the UConn beasts by themselves. St. John's fought valiantly, but was worn down by a deeper, more talented team as No. 23 Connecticut cruised to a 68-46 win in front of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion Saturday afternoon. "They wore us down, they are bringing in McDonald's All American's off of the bench," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said of the defending national champions. "They have really good players and that kind of wore us down. I thought we got frustrated with the physicality of the game and we got out of rhythm a little bit."Ironically, St. John's (8-11, 2-7) held the edge in rebounds (41-40) and outscored UConn in the paint, 34-26. But the Huskies blocked 17 shots and held the Red Storm to a season-low 46 points, the third straight game the Johnnies shot under 40 percent from the field.Rashad Anderson led the way with 21 points, Denham Brown added 17 and Josh Boone had seven points, eight rebounds and nine blocks for the Huskies. "They were the scoring answer for us tonight," Calhoun said of Anderson and Brown. "Once again the inside was not doing it ... they were sending a lot of guys inside as soon as we were getting the ball. That put a lot of pressure on Denham, Rashad and Rudy (Gay), but they responded. If they weren't shooting a three, they were going to the basket, getting fouled or getting a layup."UConn (14-5, 6-3) took control of the game just before halftime, closing the half on an 11-2 run and taking an 11-point lead into the break. St. John's scored the first four points of the second half, prompting Calhoun to call a timeout, but the Huskies followed by scoring 14 of the next 15 points during a paralyzing 10:22 stretch without a field goal for St. John's to take a commanding 48-28 lead midway through the second half.Despite the Herculean task, St. John's battled throughout."They're without a doubt the hardest-working team we've faced this year," Boone said. "They fought for every inch of the floor. They play like a New York team does: scrappy." Daryll Hill scored a game-high 22 points but shot 9-of-24 from the field and had six turnovers. Freshman Eugene Lawrence had seven points and 10 rebounds, but shot 1-of-10 and had six turnovers. Hamilton, who played all but two minutes, had seven points and nine boards."After a while we got tired of fresh bodies being on us," Hill said. "I think we played tough and hard throughout the game while they were throwing a lot of players at us."Pittsburgh 55, St. John's 44. The Red Storm had its lowest scoring output in 13 years as the host Panthers avenged a Jan. 18 loss at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night at Petersen Events Center.No. 18 Pittsburgh (16-4, 6-3) took the game over in the second half, pushing the ball inside to 6-foot-11 Chris Taft and 6-foot-7 Chevon Troutman, who combined for 31 points.Hill had 18 and Lawrence added 10 for St. John's, which plays at Seton Hall Saturday.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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