STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Top-seeded Connecticut attempts to advance to the regional semifinals for a seventh straight year when it hosts No. 9 Clemson tonight in a second-round East Region contest.
Connecticut recorded the third-largest margin of victory in NCAA Tournament annals with a 116-45 rout of helpless No. 16 seed Hampton on Friday in the first round. The Huskies raced out to a 65-16 halftime lead, tying the mark for most points in a half set by Louisiana Tech in 1982.
Big East Player of the Year Shea Ralph finished with 20 points to lead six players in double figures and Kennitra Johnson added 16 off the bench for Connecticut, which shot 71 percent (44-of-62) overall.
The Huskies have won 15 straight NCAA Tournament games at Gampel Pavilion with their last loss coming in 1993 against Louisville. That was also the last year they did not make the "Sweet 16." Connecticut knows that all homes games in this tournament are not a sure thing. The Huskies trailed Xavier by 10 points in the second half of last year's second-round contest, but held the Musketeers scoreless in the final 2:16 for an 86-84 victory.
Clemson scored 15 straight points in the first half Friday and cruised to a 64-50 triumph over No. 8 Drake. Erin Batth finished with 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting and freshman Chrissy Floyd added 14 for the Tigers, who improved to 13-12 in the NCAA Tournament.
Clemson hopes to reach 20 wins for a third straight season and looks to advance to the regionals for the second straight year. The Tigers topped Illinois last season before falling to Final Four participant Georgia.
The two meetings between these teams took place in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson won a second-round contest here in 1990, but Connecticut returned the favor the following year in the East Region final.
The winner advances to regional semifinals Saturday in Richmond to face either Oklahoma or Purdue.