Walker Gives No. 8 Uconn Win Over No. 7 ‘Nova
STORRS, Conn. (AP) – Kemba Walker hit a drive down the lane with 2.5 seconds to play to give No. 8 Connecticut a 61-59 victory over No. 7 Villanova on Monday, snapping the Wildcats’ 11-game winning streak.
Walker, who entered the game as the nation’s second-leading scorer with a 25.6 average, finished with 24 points on a season-worst 6 of 18 from the field. Although he struggled against Villanova’s aggressive man-to-man defense, the junior guard scored the Huskies’ last seven points of the game.
Corey Fisher, who led Villanova (16-2, 4-1 Big East) with 28 points, tied the game at 59 with two free throws with 22 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Huskies (15-2, 4-2) ran down the clock before Walker started his winning drive inside halfcourt. Fisher’s long shot from around halfcourt was off at the buzzer.
This was the sixth time Villanova and Connecticut played while both were in the top 10 and the Huskies have won four of them.
Alex Oriakhi had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Connecticut, while Jeremy Lamb added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Mouphtaou Yarou had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who played without forward Dominic Cheek, who injured his left knee in the last game against Maryland and did not make the trip to Connecticut.
Fisher scored Villanova’s final 11 points of the game. His reverse, scoop layup with 1:45 left tied the game at 54. Walker hit a 3 with Corey Stokes right in his face to make it a three-point game with 1:10 to go.
After a Villanova miss, Walker made two free throws with 45 seconds to go. Fisher brought Villanova within 59-57 with 35 seconds left with a 3-pointer. And after Walker missed two free throws, Fisher tied it for the last time with two foul shots with 22 seconds to go.
As exciting as the final minutes were, the first half was tough to watch.
Two stats bear that out: Villanova opened the game 3 of 20 from the field. The Huskies closed the half by missing 19 of 22 field goals. Villanova led 22-21 at halftime.
Fisher finished 10 of 22 from the field while the Wildcats were 22 of 60 (36.7 percent).
The Huskies shot 35.7 percent (20 of 56), including 5 of 16 from 3-point range.
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