STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- Thanks to Ben Gordon, No. 3 Connecticut did not miss Emeka Okafor at all against intrastate foe Quinnipiac.
Gordon scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half as the Huskies cruised to a 88-55 triumph over the Bobcats, their 85th straight victory over a non-Big East Conference opponent from New England.
Okafor, expected to be a leading candidate for national player of the year honors, had started the first 74 games of his college career but sat out because of back spasms.
"Without Emeka, we didn't miss a beat," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "That doesn't mean I don't want him back."
Gordon outscored Quinnipiac in the first half, nailing a career-high 7-of-9 3-pointers to stake UConn (7-1) to a 46-20 advantage at the break.
"It just felt like everything I put up was going to go in, so I have to try and stay in a rhythm so I can have more games like this," Gordon said.
"All I can say is that I feel fortunate that it wasn't a 55- or 60-point game," Bobcats coach Joe DeSantis said. "They came out with a passion. Ben Gordon was on his way to the single best performance I've ever seen. Thank (goodness) Calhoun likes me, he was nice to me."
Gordon finished 8-of-13 from the arc, falling one shy of Ray Allen's school record for 3-pointers in a game, set vs. Rutgers on February 28, 1996.
"Offensively, without Emeka, we were looking for somebody and No. 4 (Gordon) appeared," Calhoun said. "Our defense got rewarded by the terrific offense by Ben."
Playing his second game after being declared eligible, freshman Charlie Villanueva scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and Hilton Armstrong added 11 and a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Rob Monroe had 21 points to pace Quinnipiac (2-5) but made only 6-of-17 shots. The Bobcats were limited to 29.5 percent shooting (18-of-61).
UConn dominated inside, outscoring Quinnipiac in the paint, 46-12, and holding a 24-10 advantage in second-chance points.
The Huskies led between 24 and 38 points in the second half.