HARTFORD, Conn. – Alex Oriakhi had 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots as No. 10 Connecticut returned to Big East play with a 67-53 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday night.
Kemba Walker finished with 18 points. He has led UConn in scoring in every game this season.
The Huskies (13-2, 2-2 Big East), coming off a 82-81 overtime win at No. 12 Texas on Saturday, won their 10th straight against the Scarlet Knights (10-6, 1-3), who were led by Mike Poole's 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Walker came into the game as the nation's leading scorer averaging just under 26 points per game. He failed to reach 20 points for just the third time this season, but pulled down six rebounds.
Connecticut led 32-27 at halftime, then opened the second half on a 20-2-run to take control of the game.
The Huskies improved to 18-1 against the Scarlet Knights since Rutgers joined the Big East in 1995.
The Huskies held Rutgers without a field goal for the first 5 minutes of the second half, and the Scarlet Knights missed their first nine shots after intermission.
A driving layup by Walker and a jumper by Niels Giffey gave Connecticut a 52-29 lead, and put the game out of reach.
Rutgers got off to a quick 5-0 lead, and Connecticut's fans, who have a tradition of not sitting down until UConn scores, were kept standing for over 3 minutes, until Walker hit a reverse layup.
Oriakhi tied it at 12 on a layup and free throw, and Connecticut took its first lead when he hit a jumper 2 minutes later.
Oriakhi had no trouble posting up on the smaller Gilvyda Biruta, forcing Rutgers into a zone defense.
The Scarlet Knights scored six straight points to take a 23-21 lead, before Jamal Coombs-McDaniel's second 3-pointer of the half put UConn back ahead for good.
UConn held Rutgers to 34.5 percent shooting.
The Huskies won their last six meetings over Rutgers by double digits and their last seven home meetings with the Scarlet Knights by an average of over 16 points.
Connecticut has 27 consecutive regular-season wins against the other New York-area Big East schools — Rutgers, St. John's and Seton Hall.