Junior center Olden Polynice scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Virginia coasted to a 73-54 victory over Hartford tonight.

John Johnson had 14 points and Andrew Kennedy 10 for Virginia as the Cavaliers improved to 8-3 with their third straight victory.

Ulysses Garcia led Hartford (4-4) with 11 points. Doug McCrory added 10 for the Hawks, who are fielding an NCAA Division I team for only the second year.

Virginia, extending its home winning streak in non-Atlantic Coast Conference games to 47, got off to a sluggish start. Leading only 24-20, the Cavaliers needed a 13-6 surge in the final six minutes of the first half to open up a 37-26 lead.

Virginia, wearing down Hartford with its depth, steadily pulled away in the second half. The Cavaliers outscored the Hawks, 8-3, in the first five minutes after intermission, a Richard Morgan to Polynice lob-dunk boosting the winners to a 45-29 lead with 15:12 to play.

A 12-4 run midway through the half, capped by a Mel Kennedy free throw, provided Virginia with its biggest lead, 61-38, with just over six minutes left.

Virginia Coach Terry Holland said, "We played very well during certain stretches, there's no question about that. But I don't think we were able to maintain our concentration the way I would have liked.

"It's January and I expect concentration, I expect guys to be doing the things they're supposed to be doing.

"We have a lot of work to do to get ready for Georgia Tech." The Yellow Jackets play here Saturday.

Hartford Coach Jack Phelan was philosophical about the loss.

"The rim seemed a little smaller tonight," Phelan said, "but I think that's a tribute to the kind of defense Virginia plays. They came out with some strong man-to-man pressure and forced us to do something we didn't want to.

"I wasn't real pleased with our execution. We wanted to take some time off the clock and make them work on defense, but we didn't do that often enough."