Saturday, March 26, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Connecticut 65, Arizona 63
By Diamond Leung
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Connecticut advanced to the Final Four after hanging onto a 65-63 win that went down to the final possession, with Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne missing 3-point attempts in the final seconds. The Huskies were led by Kemba Walker's 20 points, and freshman Jeremy Lamb's 19. Williams was limited to seven first-half minutes due to foul trouble, but he finished with 20 points. The Wildcats also got a big game out of Jesse Perry, who had 14 points.
Turning point: Arizona clawed its way back into the game and took a 55-52 lead, but UConn proceeded to go on a 10-0 run with Lamb leading the way. He scored six of those points, stealing the ball and going in for the dunk to give the Huskies a 62-55 advantage.
Key player: Walker, the MVP of the West region, came through when it counted most. He hit a jump shot over the outstretched arms of Williams to give UConn a 65-60 lead with 1:15 left. Walker didn't have his best shooting day (7-for-17), but had seven assists and forced a late turnover.
Key stats: Lamb got involved in the offense and came through with 19 points, his ninth double-digit effort during UConn's current 9-0 postseason streak. He also hit two 3-pointers, had two steals and didn't turn the ball over once. ... On the flip side, Arizona -- a team that led the Pac-10 in 3-point shooting (40.3 percent) -- shot a season-worst 19 percent from long range (4-of-21).
Miscellaneous: Arizona rallied, but was limited in what it could do after Williams picked up three fouls after just seven minutes in the first half. The Wildcats were leading by 10 when he picked up his second foul, and ended up trailing at the half by seven after a 22-7 UConn run. Williams scored 14 second-half points, but you have to wonder what would have been had the fouls not gotten in his way. ... Walker is now averaging 26.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 6.8 apg in this NCAA tournament. Only two other players (Michigan's Gary Grant and Ohio State's Dennis Hopson, both in 1987) have played at least two games and averaged 25 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds in a single NCAA tourney. ... Connecticut advances to its fourth Final Four. All four times the Huskies have come out of the West region. ... UConn is 12-0 in tournament games this season (3-0 Maui, 5-0 Big East, 4-0 NCAAs)
What’s next: UConn moves on to play in Houston against the winner of the East Regional final between North Carolina and Kentucky.