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UConn's 93-82 road win over Marquette contained all the elements that a Jim Calhoun team typically shows in Big East victories: his bruising UConn frontcourt of Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien and Stanley Robinson combined for 35 points; his go-go point guard A.J. Price one-upped that total with 36 of his own and yes, of course, there was the technical foul called on his bench, most likely for a choice word yelled in a referee's direction by the 66-year-old Braintree Bully.
In gaining career win No. 800, (RECAP | BOX SCORE) Calhoun refused to change his act for the occasion. He became the seventh member of the 800 Club, joining Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Eddie Sutton and Jim Phelan the only way he knows how: wearing his Willy Loman-look and challenging his players' toughness. The win should also qualify as his on-court answer for Saturday's questioning of his $1.6 million salary by a political operative posing as a reporter. Chided by the Constitution State's governor for "an embarrassing display" in which he told the questioner to "shut up", Calhoun says he ironed out any remaining wrinkles with the state leader beforehand. For anyone who has ever had a conversation with Calhoun, though, there is no doubt that the statement win in Milwaukee was his way of getting the last word.
In these hard economic times, Calhoun was wrong to make light of his well-off salary, but it was Price's stock that took off against Marquette. Going against what many consider the nation's best backcourt, the fifth-year senior connected on eight of 13 threes and proved to be the top guard on the court. Add in a season-high 19 points from Robinson and the Huskies appeared healed from their Pitt fall nine days earlier -- perhaps even hungrier having absorbed the Panthers' one-two punch of DeJuan Blair and Sam Young.
Hampered by the fact that point guard Dominic James fractured his right foot in the first half, Marquette still fought to stay with the first-place Huskies, but, in the end, it was unable to endure against the size inside and Price's touch on the perimeter. Asked afterward about Price's performance, Calhoun likened the three-point barrage to those familiar outbursts from his former players Ray Allen and Ben Gordon. As striking as those are in their individual ways, they are each linked to Calhoun's coaching. No matter the year, the big performances continue to come with Calhoun on the bench.