NEW YORK -- The last time UConn played in the Big East tournament, the Huskies battled and fought for six overtimes and 70 minutes. On Tuesday, the Huskies couldn't even show up for 40 minutes.
The Huskies were outplayed, outhustled and out-everythinged in an uninspiring 73-51 loss to St. John's in Madison Square Garden.
"Quite frankly [St. John's] handed us our butts," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said.
Actually if St. John's would have handed UConn its butts, the Huskies would have fumbled them out of bounds.
UConn committed 20 turnovers against St. John's, shot 37.5 percent from the field (21 of 56) and missed 12 of 18 free throws.
"It was definitely embarrassing," UConn sophomore Kemba Walker said.
Embarrassing was exactly how Calhoun said he felt in his first game back from a seven-game absence Feb. 13 when UConn lost to Cincinnati and was held to a season-low 48 points.
The Huskies were able to exceed that point total against St. John's, but only after scoring four points in the final 37 seconds.
"They completely outplayed us," Calhoun said. "They were much hungrier than we were."
At one point in the second half, the usually animated Calhoun looked on from the sideline without much emotion. Calhoun said he's tried to be a different coach at different times this season.
"I never felt helpless," Calhoun said. "Just some of it was an aberration, I guess, maybe of St. John's. Some of it was maybe just disappointment with the way we performed and were handled physically, so easy.
"Clearly it was not the kind of performance that we would like to have had. I know if I was yelling and screaming and sitting -- they had eight dunks that they had in the lane. I'm not sure how many of those would have been blocked if I would have been jumping and yelling."
UConn's final 18 games consisted of three separate three-game losing streaks and a three-game winning streak. "It's been the strangest year of basketball how we've performed various times," Calhoun said.
Simply put, the Huskies were consistently inconsistent.
"I don't think there's any way we can explain it," UConn senior Gavin Edwards said. "If we could have explained it, we would have fixed it. We wouldn't have had so many ups and downs this season.
"So I mean, just sporadic. We don't really play the way we should all the time and it really shows."
The Huskies, a year removed from their Final Four appearance, closed the year with four consecutive losses. And, perhaps, more unbelievable is the fact UConn has lost six consecutive Big East Tournament games and hasn't won a league tournament game since 2005. Heck even DePaul has won a league tournament game in the past two years.
"It hurts," UConn's Jerome Dyson said. "That's kind of the way our season's been -- ups and downs. Can't get back up after this one. This is probably the worst I've felt personally about how I played -- ever."
UConn's leading scorer with a 17.7 point average, Dyson finished with four points and nine turnovers.
St. John's players said afterward they could see that UConn players were giving up. So much for UConn making a deep run in the Big East tournament to receive an NCAA tournament bid.
With the Huskies' NCAA tournament hopes officially kaput, Calhoun was asked about his future plans and asked about an SNY report that he could retire after this season.
Calhoun, who missed a few weeks this season due to an undisclosed medical reason, disputed the report saying it "was not based upon any substantive fact." Calhoun also added that he has a contract offer from the UConn for a contract extension.
Any extension of this season, however, will have to be in the NIT. Calhoun said he has "great respect" for the tournament, but wouldn't say definitively if the Huskies would accept an NIT bid.
"I'm going to sit down and the best thing for me to do and my staff to do is to kind of contemplate," Calhoun said. "I guess I have to talk to the athletic director and I'll talk to him. Obviously he makes the final judgment. He runs the athletic department.
"I want to make sure if we step on back on the court to play basketball that they would be able to bring emotion, energy and all the things you should bring to competition."
The Huskies were 0-7 in games this season decided by five points or less, including a 64-61 loss in this same building to Kentucky Dec. 9.
"I have great respect to keep playing," Calhoun said. "I always think you should keep playing. Right around the corner something good is going to happen. It's a coach's dream. No way I felt we would lose today.
"I know in a couple of days if we laced them up again, there's no way I would ever think we would lose again. It's what keeps us going at times."
The question for the 67-year old Calhoun: how much longer will that be?
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at firstname.lastname@example.org