MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Jim Calhoun figured No. 5 Connecticut would need all the second chances it could get against West Virginia (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP), and that meant going hard after missed shots.
Jeff Adrien scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Connecticut used a huge rebounding advantage to beat the cold-shooting Mountaineers 61-55 on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Calhoun moved past Lefty Driesell into seventh place on the NCAA career wins list with 787.
Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet had 13 points and 13 rebounds while Stanley Robinson, playing in just his sixth game after sitting out the first semester for personal reasons, finished with 15 rebounds.
"Our biggest emphasis tonight was to bang the boards," Calhoun said. "With a 52-33 rebound advantage, I think we did a pretty good job. Stanley Robinson was absolutely magnificent."
Last year Connecticut was outrebounded badly in a loss to the Mountaineers in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
West Virginia, which starts three freshmen and lost leading scorer and rebounder Joe Alexander to the NBA, was significantly smaller than the Huskies and that showed in the paint.
"They're a foot taller than we are," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "We're getting unbelievable mileage out of three freshmen. We're playing against 22-year-old men. Twenty-two-year-old guys are a lot bigger and a lot stronger.
"We're not big enough. We're not strong enough. We have to do everything right and I told them that."
Connecticut (13-1, 2-1 Big East) has won two straight since losing 74-63 at home to No. 9 Georgetown on Dec. 29.
"This was as hard as we've played this year, and we had to play hard to beat West Virginia," Calhoun said.
Connecticut figured out West Virginia's man-to-man defense after halftime. The Huskies shot 12-of-21 (57 percent) from the floor after hitting just 28 percent in the first half.
To Connecticut, it was Robinson's presence that stood out.
"I knew we were going to need Stanley in big games like this," Thabeet said.
West Virginia (11-3, 1-1), making its season debut in the rankings, had its worst shooting performance from the floor at 30.3 percent. The Mountaineers managed just three field goals over the final eight minutes.
"Both teams played good defense," said West Virginia's Darryl Bryant. "They just made the big plays down the stretch."
Da'Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff scored 13 apiece for West Virginia, which saw its five-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time at home this season. Bryant added 11 points, giving the freshman double figures in scoring for the 11th time.
Last year the 7-foot-3 Thabeet had a total of eight points as the teams split two meetings, but the Mountaineers gave him enough room this time.
Adrien made four layups early in the second half to pace Connecticut and Thabeet's dunk put the Huskies ahead 45-44 with 10:50 left.
Neither team led by more than four points until Thabeet's inside basket put the Huskies ahead 52-47 with six minutes left.
Their shooting touch gone sour, the Mountaineers tried to come back from the line.
Bryant sank two free throws to pull West Virginia within 56-55 with 2:27 left. After Kemba Walker's free throw put Connecticut ahead by two, West Virginia's Cam Thoroughman could have tied the game but missed the front end of a bonus free throw.
Connecticut's Jerome Dyson finished with 11 points, including a layup and a pair of free throws in the final minute.
"It was a battle the whole game," Dyson said. "We definitely had to work for everything. There were times we were just getting beat up and we just had to battle through it."
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