HARTFORD, Connecticut (Ticker) -- It was as startling as it was sudden.
Connecticut used a remarkable second-half run to erase one of the worst first-half efforts in school history as the ninth-ranked Huskies rallied for a 59-49 triumph over rival Massachusetts.
Connecticut managed just nine points over the first 20 minutes - its lowest production in any half under coach Jim Calhoun - and trailed, 34-9, just over two minutes into the second half.
But Ben Gordon led a stirring comeback as the Huskies (6-0) used a 29-2 run to get back into the game.
Gordon finished with 18 points, 16 in the second half, as Connecticut won for the 18th time in 19 games and defeated Massachusetts for the 12th straight time.
"It was a tale of two games, obviously," Calhoun said. "I think in the first half we were comatose. ... We became discouraged by the fact that we couldn't run and we were having to play defense for so long. I just think it was a terrific, terrific win for us."
Anthony Anderson led Massachusetts (1-5) with 13 points.
"I thought our guys did a tremendous job with the things we could control," Massachusetts coach Steve Lappas said. "We did a great job tonight, we played as hard as we could. There's no such thing as moral victories, but as I told the guys on the team, the way I look at it, these six games that we've played were our learning period."
Freshman guard Rashad Anderson and Denham Brown had big second halves for Connecticut, which got itself back in the game by holding Massachusetts to one basket in a 12:05 stretch. Anderson had three 3-pointers in the 29-2 run while Brown had a pair of long jumpers.
"Coach had a lot of confidence in me and once I got in the game, I found my rhythm," Anderson said.
After Gordon knotted the contest, 36-36, with two free throws with 7:33 to go. Emeka Okafor blocked a layup attempt by Jackie Rogers 42 seconds later and then hit a short jumper to give the Huskies the lead and send the crowd of 14,962 at the Hartford Civic Center into a frenzy.
The Minutemen did not fold and were within 46-44 with 2:33 to go but Gordon hit a 3-pointer 23 seconds later to give UConn some breathing room. Massachusetts never got closer than five the rest of the way and the final score became misleading when the Huskies closed the game with a 6-0 run.
Massachusetts absolutely dominated the first half, holding Connecticut to 4-of-26 shooting.
"(Assistant coach George Blaney) turned to me and said, 'Do you think we're going to get a basket this half?'" Calhoun said. "And I told him I didn't know, and that's the scary part."
Rogers had 10 points as the Minutemen led 30-9 through 20 minutes.
"It is very frustrating, to be up 30-9 and have them come back is disappointing, but it's a learning experience for us," Massachusetts guard Marcus Cox said.
"This shows that we are not going to give up," Okafor said. "We were down 36-9 at one point and we just could have stopped, cried and went home. But we stuck with it. We played our game. We got refocused. And most of all we stuck together. We had that no-quit attitude."