HARTFORD, Conn. - St. John's had won two straight before taking on Big East foe Connecticut, which had won nine straight against the Red Storm.
Even though the Huskies had dropped three in a row to fall out of the Top 25 for the first time in 36 weeks, they got 21 points from Jerome Dyson and used an 11-4 run in the second half to defeat St. John's, 75-59, last night.
Playing their first game since coach Jim Calhoun took a medical leave of absence, Stanley Robinson had 18 points and nine rebounds and Kemba Walker added 17 points and six assists for UConn (12-6, 3-3 Big East). Longtime assistant coach George Blaney took over for the Huskies. "He's just like Coach, except, of course, he doesn't scream and stuff," Walker said.
St. John's, (12-6, 2-4) which was coming off wins over Cincinnati and DePaul, was led by D.J. Kennedy's 19 points. Dwight Hardy added 12 for the Red Storm. "When you have opportunities to make plays, you've got to make them, and we didn't guard," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said.
UConn led 31-28 at the half, but came out of intermission on an 11-4 run, led by Walker, who had seven during that stretch.
The Huskies hit six of 14 three-point shots; St. John's connected on only two of 17 from beyond the arc, including 2 of 11 after halftime.
Calhoun's medical condition is not career threatening, according to Connecticut's athletic director Jeff Hathaway, but there is no timetable for the coach's return.
The athletic director would not say what is ailing the 67-year-old Hall of Famer, but said it has nothing to do with his previous bouts with cancer and is not related to his heart.
Calhoun had prostate cancer in 2003 and skin cancer twice, most recently in 2008.