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Maui to Manhattan, Uconn Crowned Big East Champs
Posted By Wilson Tarpeh Jr. On Mar 13 2011 @ 12:54 am In UConn | No Comments
The Uconn Huskies have completed the unbelievable task of winning 5 games in 5 days. Let’s go further, they played 5 games in 5 days in the toughest Conference in College Basketball. The Uconn Huskies were crowned the 2011 Big East Tournament Champions by beating the Louisville Cardinals in a GEM of a game!! In the past 5 days, the Uconn Huskies have taken down the DePaul Blue Demons, the Georgetown Hoyas, the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Syracuse Orangemen, and lastly the Louisville Cardinals. That sounds like Murders Row for any team in this COUNTRY, let alone the teams that stand between you and a Championship. As I said earlier this year, this is a young team and they are very talented.
The Championship game started great for the Huskies they jumped on the Cardinals early even getting the lead to as many as 14. Then something changed, Kemba Walker got called for his 2nd foul and that is all the opening that Louisville needed. The Cardinals surged once Uconn’s diminutive leader was off the floor. Peyton Siva(13 points) and Preston Knowles(18 points) spearheaded the charge as the Cardinals closed the gap to 6 going into the half. The game went back and forth until the end. The Cardinals held Kemba Walker without a field goal for nearly 12 minutes, Uconn’s younger pieces picked up the slack and fought hard to stay within striking distance. Louisville was up 64-63 with 49 seconds left on the clock after a great shot by Preston Knowles, Uconn answered by going to Kemba Walker. Walker struck, but with a great PASS to freshman Jeremy Lamb for the go ahead bucket. Uconn then led 65-64, Louisville inbounded and turned the ball over so they had to foul Kemba. Walker hit both free throws to put Uconn up 67-64. Louisville missed their next 3 point attempt, but the ball got tipped back out to Mike Marra and he got fouled by Kemba Walker while shooting a 3!! Marra went to the line, but he missed 1 of the free-throws. Uconn inbounded the ball to Shabazz Napier, Napier atoned for his missed free-throw that sent the Syracuse game into overtime by DRILLING both of them!! Uconn was then up 69-66, Louisville inbounded and got the ball up court to Knowles who missed a 3 to tie at the buzzer. That’s the 2nd game in a row where Jeremy Lamb scored a huge bucket in crunch time, Kemba has done a great job trusting these young guys. Walker didn’t have a great night, so this was a perfect example of how much these kids have grown by stepping up to support him. This was a TEAM win tonight as have been the case for every victory this year, Kemba might get the headlines but these kids have done a great job working their tail off with and for him all year. Every one of these young players made an impact in EVERY game in this Conference Tournament. Against the Cardinals Lamb had 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in this game. Roscoe Smith who only played 5 minutes last night, had a GREAT performance in this game. Smith got the start and logged 33 minutes, scored 12 points, grabbed 7 boards(5 were offensive), and blocked 2 shots. Alex Oriahki the sophomore forward continued his high level of play scoring 10 points and grabbing 8 boards. Shabazz Napier came off the bench to score 3 points, get 3 steals, and drop 3 dimes. Every player really contributed to the cause, Kemba only scored 19 points tonight but he led his team to victory by never dropping his level of intensity. This was a great accomplishment for this young team, I look forward to seeing where they end up seeding wise in the Big Dance.
-Uconn is the first team to win 5 games in 5 days and win a Conference Title
-Kemba Walker named 2011 Big East Tourney Most Outstanding Player
-Kemba Walker now holds the Big East Tournament Scoring Record with 130 points
-130 points is the most points scored by a single player in ANY Conference Tournament(last 15 yrs) by passing Armon Bassett
-Jim Calhoun has the most Big East Tournament Championships as a Coach passing the Great John Thompson with 7
-Uconn now tied with Georgetown for 7 Big East Tournament Championships
-Uconn has won 7 Conference Championships in just 10 tries
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