MEN'S BASKETBALL | Walker, UConn Snap Hoyas’ Win Streak
UConn 78, Georgetown 70
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 03:02
Kemba Walker pulled a Marshon Brooks on the Hoyas. Or was Brooks just a prelude to Walker?
In the continuation of a season-long theme, a dynamic scorer — this one a serious national player of the year candidate — had a banner night against No. 9 Georgetown (20-6, 9-5 Big East), which faded down the stretch after taking the lead with four minutes left and lost, 78-70, to No. 13 Connecticut (20-5, 8-5 Big East) in Hartford. The defeat is the Hoyas' first since a Jan. 12 loss against Pitt and ends an eight-game winning streak.
Walker, once again the odds-on favorite to win Big East player of the year, went off for 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting, 11 assists and seven rebounds. His night was highlighted by a play at the top of the key in the first half, when he pretended it was the NBA All-Star game and threw a pass to himself off the backboard, scoring on a runner in the lane.
While the Hoyas, who led 37-36, at halftime, were able to take down Providence thanks to their defense against everyone not named Brooks, they had no answer for out-of-the-blue sophomore forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who had 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench. Averaging just more than five points per game on the season, he has 48 points over his last two games.
Senior guard Chris Wright picked up the slack for Georgetown, whose leading scorer — senior guard Austin Freeman — put up just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, as his injured right ankle looked to slow him down as the game went on. The Hoyas' point guard scored 19 points on 7-for-17 from the field and dished out five assists. Sophomore forward Hollis Thompson also contributed 10 off the bench, which included some key buckets in the second half to keep the Hoyas close.
Trailing by eight halfway through the second half, Head Coach John Thompson III switched to a zone defense, which helped the Hoyas go on a 20-11 run that gave them a 70-69 lead with four minutes to go in the game. But the Huskies immediately answered with a 9-0 run to end the game.
Georgetown looked crisp on offense for much of the first half, led by 11 of junior guard Jason Clark's 13 points, and took control of the glass. But after leading by as many as 10 in the half, the Hoyas stopped rebounding and Walker and the Huskies got going offensively. From UConn's 23-14 run to end the half, it was a grind-it-out struggle for Georgetown, but Walker and McDaniel's production coupled with quiet second halves from Freeman, Clark and Vaughn ultimately doomed the Hoyas, who now find themselves in third place by a half game in the Big East but in a five-way tie for third in the loss column.
Georgetown will be at South Florida (8-19, 2-12 Big East) tomorrow looking for its 10th conference win. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.