HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut played one good half of basketball Tuesday night. Against Maine, that was enough.
Jerome Dyson scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half and the 11th-ranked Huskies pulled away to a 71-54 victory over the Black Bears.
Stanley Robinson added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Huskies (8-2), who broke from a 26-all halftime tie.
Kemba Walker had nine assists for UConn, but scored four points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field.
“If we keep playing like this, it’s not going to be a good season,” said Connecticut freshman forward Alex Oriakhi, who had 14 rebounds, six points and four blocked shots. “If we can’t beat Maine by at least 30, that’s not good.”
Terrance Mitchell had 13 points to lead Maine (5-5) and Gerald McLemore added 10.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun improved to 13-0 all-time against his former assistant coaches. Maine’s Ted Woodward began his career as an assistant at Connecticut from 1986-89.
Connecticut trailed 33-30 after Mitchell hit a 3-pointer 2 minutes into the second half. But Robinson responded with a 3-pointer that sparked an 8-0 run. A 12-0 spurt, that included dunks by Dyson and Robinson, gave UConn a 55-40 lead.
“Once they made a little bit of a run, it was difficult for us to catch up,” Woodward said.
UConn hit eight shots from 3-point range, seven in the second half.
It was another lethargic first half for the Huskies, who trailed Central Florida by five at halftime on Sunday before winning by nine points.
UConn hit just six of its first 16 shots from the field, while Maine made just four of 16.
The Black Bears trailed 17-15 midway through the half, and never let UConn extend its lead to more than seven points.
Maine closed the half on a 6-0 run to tie the game, and, for the second consecutive game, fans showered the Huskies with boos as they made their way to the locker room.
“We have to know that we’re going to be having a lot of hard games where we’re not going to be able to come out the way we did tonight,” Dyson said.
UConn outscored Maine 45-28 in the second half, holding the Black Bears to 29 percent shooting from the field.
“What I’m worried about right now is us coming together and playing 40 minutes of basketball,” Calhoun said. “When you give a team a 20-minute game, injuries happen, some bad calls, somebody gets hurt, all of the various things that happen in a basketball game.”
Ater Majok, UConn’s 6-foot-11 freshman forward, had a better night than his one-point debut against UCF. Majok, who became eligible to play this week, finished with five points, four rebounds and three of UConn’s 16 blocked shots.
Maine had won three of its last four, but lost by 46 to Syracuse on Dec. 5. They hadn’t played since a 57-51 win over Kennesaw State on Dec. 13. A game that was scheduled for Sunday against Princeton in Orono had to be postponed because of the snowstorm.
Maine is 0-6 against Top 25 opponents since the start of the 1996-97 season.