Monday, January 17, 2011

Kemba Walker's Late Floater Knocks Off Villanova

The top candidate for National Player of the Year struggled throughout the game, fighting through double teams and tough perimeter defense from Villanova guards.  Kemba Walker finally found some space in the final minute of the game, giving UConn a huge Big East win.  Corey Fisher had his best scoring game of the year with 28 points, but his half court prayer shot at the final buzzer was long, sending Nova back home with their second loss of the year.

Walker broke a tie in the final minute with a long three pointer, but then missed two free throws with a chance to ice the game.  After Corey Fisher tied the game at the free throw line, Walker was handed the opportunity to win the game.  As he did last week vs. Texas, Walker fought off a defender and converted for a late basket.  Walker finished the game with 24 points, but was just 6-18 from the field.  Walker drained his first two shots of the game, both three pointers, but after the hot start he had trouble finding a good rhythm.  Villanova's freshman guard, James Bell, probably played the best defense on Walker in the game, constantly keeping up with him.  Corey Stokes was covering UConn's star, when Walker blew past him for the game winner with 2.5 seconds left.

This game started ugly, but ended in the typical Big East fashion.  The Huskies started the game on a 10-0 run, as Villanova missed its first 10 field goal attempts.  Despite the poor start, the Wildcats took a 22-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.  In the first half, the teams combined to shoot 15-62 from the floor.  Corey Fisher had the hot hand for Villanova the entire game, scoring 18 of his 28 points in the second half.  After the Huskies took a 52-48 lead with 4 minutes to play, Fisher scored the Cats final 11 points of the game, tying it at two separate occasions.

Villanova played without sixth man, Dominic Cheek, who stayed in Philadelphia for an MRI on his sprained knee.  Cheek is Villanova's best perimeter defender and probably would have been given the task to guard Kemba Walker.

Maalik Wayns and Corey Stokes had games to forget, scoring 9 and 3 points respectively.  Wayns looked a lot like he did last year, struggling to maintain control of himself.  Stokes was completely shut down by UConn's Jeremy Lamb, only making three free throws all day.

UConn plays Tennessee on Saturday, while Villanova travels to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to take on the Orangemen.

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