Created: 11/14/2013 9:05 PM
(AP) STORRS, Conn. - With just one returning starter and six new players, Detroit is still learning how to play together.
The Titans got an education on Thursday night from a veteran Connecticut squad.
Omar Calhoun led six UConn players in double figures with 17 points and the Huskies routed Detroit 101-55 in the opening round of the 2K Sports Classic.
"We have a lot of young guys, and they have to learn what Division I basketball is all about," Detroit coach Ray McCallum said. "It’s not the kind of lesson you want to learn, but we’ve got to learn from it."
Freshman Matthew Grant led Detroit (1-2) with 15 points. Juwan Howard Jr., the son of former NBA player and current Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard and the only returning starter, added 14.
Niels Giffey tied the career high he set against Yale on Monday with 15 points, all in the first half, for UConn (3-0).
Giffey, who has not scored in a second half this season, entered the game with UConn trailing and hit his first five shots. The Huskies used a 21-2 run to take a 48-26 halftime lead.
Ryan Boatright had 12 points and seven assists for UConn and Shabazz Napier added 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, three days after recording the second triple-double of his career.
"We really have to stay together and really learn from them," McCallum said. "I thought the ball moved well for them. I thought their defense was consistent throughout the game."
All 14 Huskies played, and 13 scored.
UConn had 21 assists on 35 field goals.
"We just have a lot of balance," Calhoun said. "We have a lot of depth and we’ve got some good players around that draw defenders and it makes it easier for other guys. It makes it fun for everyone out there on the court."
UConn scored 100 points for the first time since March 2009, when the school put up 103 on Chattanooga in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Huskies coach Kevin Ollie went to Giffey after starter DeAndre Daniels, who came in with just eight points on the season, missed his first four attempts from the field. Daniels came on in the second half, scoring 11 points.
Giffey was 3 of 4 from 3-point range and has hit 11 of his 13 attempts from beyond the arc this season.
"The first half he’s been coming in, he’s been giving us that spark," Ollie said. "He’s been spacing the floor for us, too. Shabazz is finding him, Ryan is finding him. Both guards are doing a great job of finding the hot hand."
The Huskies, who came in shooting 53 percent on 3s, were 11 of 19 Thursday.
Howard scored the Titan’s first eight points of the game part of a 9-0 run that saw Detroit take an early 11-6 lead, the first time the Huskies had trailed this season.
But Giffey’s driving layup and 3-pointer on the next trip put the Huskies back on top 21-17. The Huskies used a 21-2 run to take Detroit out of its zone defense and take control of the game at 34-19.
Boatright’s 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave the Huskies their 22-point lead.
Napier’s driving layup after a nice crossover pushed the lead to 68-37.
"With me and Shabazz and DeAndre and Boat, we just know what it takes to stay in a game like that and take over a game," Giffey said.
Amida Brimah’s dunk gave the Huskies a 40-point lead midway through the second half. The 7-foot freshman had four blocked shots, giving him 14 in the first three games.
The UConn bench, led by Giffey, scored 47 points. The bench players had 30 points in the Huskies’ opener and 31 against Yale. Last season UConn didn’t get more than 25 points from its reserves in any game.
UConn has won 40 consecutive games at Gampel Pavilion against non-conference opponents. The streak dates to the 2001 NIT, when the Huskies lost to Detroit, 67-61.
UConn, which has already played in Hartford this season, hasn’t lost its first game of the season on campus since Gampel opened in 1990. This was their 25th straight win in that streak.
The Huskies, who were outrebounded by Yale in an 80-62 win on Monday, had 49 rebounds to 34 for Detroit. The Titans came in averaging 51.5 a game.
UConn next hosts Boston University in the tournament’s second round on Sunday. The Huskies then head to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 21 to face Boston College, and will play either Indiana or Washington in the title game on Nov. 22.
Detroit completes its games in the tournament by hosting Florida Atlantic, Toledo and Stony Brook on consecutive nights beginning Nov. 22. In between, they travel to James Madison.