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Updated: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 10:55 PM EST
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(1) Connecticut 93, Nevada 79

STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon made sure he will spend Thanksgiving close to home.

Gordon poured in a career-high 37 points to lift top-ranked Connecticut to a 93-79 victory over Nevada in the second round of the Preseason NIT.

Connecticut (2-0) advanced to the semifinals on November 26 in New York against Georgia Tech or Hofstra. A Mount Vernon, New York native, Gordon helped carry the Huskies after a second straight slow start.

"I just had the right mind-set today," Gordon said. "I don't think it would have really mattered how they played me, I think I would have countered anything they could have done."

The junior guard scored 19 points by halftime as the Huskies rallied from an early seven-point deficit for a 43-37 lead. Emeka Okafor's dunk and a 3-pointer by Gordon triggered a 13-1 spurt that gave Connecticut the lead for good, 59-47, with just under 15 minutes to go.

"Obviously, no one could play him tonight," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said of Gordon. "He was absolutely terrific and put on a tremendous performance."

Denham Brown chipped in a career-high 22 points for the Huskies, who received a foul-plagued effort from Okafor. After notching a double-double in Monday's opener, Okafor sat for long stretches and finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

Gordon drained all four of his 3-point attempts - all in the second half - and Brown was 3-of-3 as UConn found to its liking the 20 1/2-foot experimental arc in play for this event. The Huskies shot 52 percent (32-of-62) from the floor.

"Ben was the leader tonight emotionally and (the) offensive leader," Brown said. "Scoring as many points as he did, that could get anybody pumped."

Nevada (1-1), the preseason Western Athletic Conference favorite, took an early 18-11 advantage on Kevinn Pinckney's jumper. The Huskies responded with 10 straight points and never trailed again, although the pesky Wolf Pack never went away.

UConn used its size advantage for a 42-29 edge on the glass, also forcing Nevada to go deep into its bench due to foul trouble. The Huskies shot 76 percent (22-of-29) from the line.

While Connecticut's offense was efficient, its defense had trouble handling preseason WAC Player of the Year Kirk Snyder, who netted 22 points. Freshman Marcelus Kemp drilled four 3-pointers and chipped in 15 points off the bench.

"When you play against someone of this caliber, if you make a mistake or two, they make you pay for it," Nevada coach Trent Johnson said.

Freshman Josh Boone continues to shine after becoming the 12th freshman under Calhoun to start an opener. Boone grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, using his 6-10 frame to help bottle up Nevada's inside game.

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