Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kemba Walker's Redemption Gives UConn Late Win Over 'Nova

As is becoming the trademark of Connecticut's season, Kemba Walker again played hero down the stretch as the Huskies edged No. 7 Villanova, 61-59, in Storrs, Conn.

In an otherwise ugly offensive game, Walker stroked two late shots -- one a runner, the other a fadeaway -- to down the Wildcats. Walker, however, was also a large reason why Villanova (16-2, 4-1) was in the game at the wire.

Up two with the ball, Walker was fouled and sent to the line for a couple of free throws. An 85 percent foul shooter on the season, Walker missed both free throws, then promptly fouled Corey Fisher who buried his two shots to tie the game. With the score tied, Walker hit a runner in the lane to give the Huskies the lead with just over two seconds remaining, and Fisher's heave from just inside half court went begging.

Fisher led all scorers with 28 points, but no other Wildcat was able to crack double figures.            

No. 8 UConn (15-2, 4-2) was led, again, by Walker with 24. Alex Oriakhi and Jeremy Lamb added 14 apiece.

How it was won: Defense. UConn held Villanova's leading scorer Corey Stokes to only three points and zero field goals. In addition, Fisher was the only Wildcat to hit a three, and the Huskies held them to just 3-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.

How it was lost: Converting around the basket. Villanova, even when it held leads, seemed shaky on the offensive end. On numerous occasions, the Wildcats had shots in the lane that they couldn't finish.

Where to from here: Both teams have challenges forthcoming: 'Nova will stay on the road to face Syracuse Saturday, while UConn will get a visit from Big East-killer Tennessee.


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