Walker’s career-high 29 leads Connecticut to 84-75 win over No. 3 Villanova

By Jim Oconnell, AP
Monday, February 15, 2010

Connecticut stuns No. 3 Villanova 84-75

PHILADELPHIA — Kemba Walker scored a career-high 29 points and Connecticut continued the four-day run of Big East top 10 upsets, beating No. 3 Villanova 84-75 on Monday night.

The Huskies (15-11, 5-8) became the fourth team to knock off one of the Big East’s top teams with a win they desperately needed in coach Jim Calhoun’s second game back on the bench after missing 3½ weeks on a medical leave.

On Friday night, then-No. 5 West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh in triple overtime. On Sunday, Louisville beat then-No. 2 Syracuse and Rutgers beat then-No. 7 Georgetown.

The Huskies made it four in as many days by shooting 67 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line in the second half while holding Scottie Reynolds of the Wildcats (22-3, 11-2) to four of his 18 points.

Connecticut was coming off a 60-48 loss to Cincinnati. The Huskies hit the 48-point mark less than 4 minutes into the second half.

Calhoun had called the loss to Cincinnati “embarrassing.” This had to wipe some of that feeling away.

Reynolds, the conference’s fourth-leading scorer at 19 points per game, had been a second-half star for the Wildcats in their recent games. With Jerome Dyson moving with him all over the court, the senior guard managed just the four points on 2-of-6 shooting including missing all three 3-point attempts.

The Huskies hit their first seven shots of the second half and turned a 36-35 halftime lead into 55-48 lead. They were up 67-58 with 5:30 left and then matched almost every Villanova score the rest of the way, going 13 of 16 from the line the rest of the way.

Reggie Redding hit a 3 with 2 minutes left to bring the Wildcats within 76-69 and the crowd of better than 18,000 at the Wachovia Center was suddenly alive in the matchup of teams from last season’s Final Four that were on very different paths this season.

Connecticut milked most of the 35-second clock and Walker was fouled with 3 seconds left. He made two free throws with 1:26 left. Dominic Cheek hit a 3 for the Wildcats with 1:15 to play to make it 78-72 and this time Connecticut again worked the shot clock down to 2 seconds and Walker was able to get off a 3 that missed. Gavin Edwards corralled the rebound for Connecticut and that turned into one of two free throws for Dyson with 35 seconds left for a seven-point lead.

Dyson had 15 points and six assists for Connecticut. He was 9 of 14 from the free throw line and Walker was 14 of 16 as the Huskies finished 35 of 44.

Corey Fisher had 14 points for the Wildcats, who could have moved one game ahead of Syracuse in the conference race. The Huskies, who had lost five of six, remained 12th in the 16-team league and ended a six-game road losing streak in the Big East.

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