Thursday, March 26, 2009
UConn hosts the Thabeet Show
By Dick Vitale
Jim Calhoun and his team were focused on one thing Thursday night -- winning a basketball game, baby!
A.J. Price talked about getting more face time and didn't worry about the Nate Miles situation and NCAA investigation. Price moved one step away from the Final Four, a feat his dad Tony accomplished at Penn in 1979.
But this game turned into the Hasheem Thabeet show.
Thabeet was absolutely sensational. He scored inside, rebounded, defended. Thabeet finished with 15 points, 15 boards and four blocked shots as the Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight.
Connecticut's defense was too tough. Thabeet makes opponents change shots and affects their offensive rhythm.
Price and Craig Austrie were solid on the perimeter. Austrie was one-for-10 from the field with a total of six points in the first two games of the NCAA tournament. On Thursday he hit four-of-six from the field and finished with 17 points, his second-highest total of the season (he had 21 vs. Hartford).
Robbie Hummel kept Purdue in the game with a solid first half, scoring 15 points. He was held to just two points in the second half.
The Boilermakers were down 14-3 early and it looked like a football score. Matt Painter's team did not give up and fought hard 'til the bitter end. Give Purdue credit for a solid effort, but Connecticut moved on in Arizona.
Remember, the Huskies love playing in the Valley of the Sun. In 1999 and 2004, Connecticut won the West Regional in the state of Arizona en route to the national championship.