- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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NEW YORK -- In a matchup of two of the classic Big East teams, No. 19 Connecticut blew by No. 22 Georgetown, 79-62, in the second round of the Big East tournament Wednesday afternoon.
WHAT IT MEANS: After losing six straight games in the Big East Tournament spanning 2005-10, the Huskies (23-9) have now reeled off back-to-back wins in the tournament to return to the Big East quarterfinals. Georgetown (21-10) has now lost four straight games and five of its last six overall.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: UConn had too many weapons for Georgetown to defend as it spread the ball around and attacked the basket with aggression. The Huskies took their first double-digit lead with 6:54 left in the first half and led at halftime 42-30. While Georgetown kept coming in the second half, it could never slice the lead to single digits. A 10-2 run early in the second half gave UConn a commanding 59-40 lead.
THE OTHER GUY MUST’VE BEEN GOOD: One day after losing out on the Big East Player of the Year award, UConn junior point guard Kemba Walker put on a show at the Garden. He led UConn with 28 points and added seven rebounds. He dazzled the crowd with acrobatic plays in the lane and his ability to finish near the hoop. In two games so far, Walker has 54 points for the Huskies.
“When you have 15 [Walker] on your team, usually you’re in pretty good shape," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "Kemba I thought was just terrific and he understood where his teammates were and made them better at particular points in time and just made some sensational plays regardless of who, what and how they were playing him and it was a really good win for us.”
NEED SOME HELP: Austin Freeman and Jason Clark combined for 43 of Georgetown’s points, with Clark leading the way with 20 points, but their supporting cast failed to deliver. The rest of the squad only added 19 points. Obviously, the loss of Chris Wright has an adverse effect on the Huskies. Without the point guard, who is out with a broken hand, the Hoyas offense looked lost against the Huskies. Georgetown turned the ball over 10 times in the first half and simply had no rhythm or fluidity to its play throughout the game.
“We miss Chris, absolutely, 100 percent, both ends of the court, in every way,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “That being said, the group that is playing right now and playing today has to be better than we’ve been showing.”
GETTING BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS: UConn sophomore Jamal Coombs-McDaniel has now scored in double digits in back-to-back games, the first time he’s done that since he did it three straight times in the middle of February. The forward showed good range from the field as he scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He scored 11 vs. DePaul Tuesday.
UP NEXT: Connecticut will advance to face top-seeded Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals Thursday at noon. The Panthers handed the Huskies their first loss of the season, 78-63, on Dec. 27. Georgetown is a lock for the NCAA tournament.