Although Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun got his 100th win in the Hartford Civic Center last night, he was on the bench for only half of it.
A stomach virus sidelined Calhoun in the second half of No. 2 Connecticut's 83-56 win over Sacred Heart. Associate coach Dave Leitao took over in Calhoun's absence as the Huskies (10-1) won their 10th straight.
Calhoun called the win a "workmanlike job," but would have preferred to see more passion from his squad.
"This team has gotten awful good by playing with a sense of purpose. That was just a little bit lacking. We rely on passion," he said.
Albert Mouring led the defending national champions with 15 points in their final tuneup before starting Big East play.
Khalid El-Amin added 13 points, all in the second half, and Edmund Saunders had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
El-Amin said the team is striving for consistency.
"We're going into the heart of the season. We wanted to hit our peak right in conference play, and that's what we're starting to do," El-Amin said.
DeVeren Johnson led Sacred Heart (1-8) with 14 points, and Marijus Kovaliukas added 13.
Calhoun missed two games last season because of stomach problems--an early-season victory over Hartford and a first-round game in the NCAA tournament against Texas-San Antonio.
OKLAHOMA 67, LAMAR 63: Eduardo Najera scored 25 points and made two key free throws late to help No. 20 Oklahoma close out nonconference play with the win in Norman, Okla.
Tim Heskett and J.R. Raymond scored 12 points each and Nolan Johnson added 10 for the Sooners (12-1).
The Cardinals, who had won four in a row, pulled to within two in the final 10 seconds. With 7.7 seconds remaining, Ron Austin hit a three-pointer with a Sooner defender in his face to make the score 65-63.
Austin quickly fouled Najera, who hit both of his free throws in the final seconds to seal the game.
After watching Oklahoma run out to a 13-2 lead, Lamar (6-5) pulled to within a point with 1 minute 29 seconds remaining in the first half. Oklahoma led 33-30 at the half.
Landon Rowe led the Cardinals with 23 points, going 9 of 13 from the field. Kenyon Spears scored 14.
"Three months into the season and we forgot where we came from," Oklahoma Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "We need to get better. We have eight home games left and eight road games left and we need to get focused. We need to get back to where our identity is."
Oklahoma's only loss this season was to No. 4 Cincinnati on Dec. 22 in Norman. The Sooners begin Big 12 play Saturday when they host Texas A&M.