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Walker's Heroics Leads UConn Past Villanova, 61-59

Jan. 17, 2011

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STORRS, CONN. (January 17, 2011) - Kemba Walker hit a floater in the lane with 2.5 seconds remaining to give eighth-ranked Connecticut a 61-59 men's basketball victory over seventh-ranked Villanova before a raucous sellout crowd of 10,167 at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.

The win, Connecticut's tenth straight at home, improves the Huskies' record to 15-2, 4-2 in BIG EAST games. The Wildcats drop to 16-2, 4-1 in conference play.

The Huskies seemed to have the game in hand when Walker made two free throws with 45 seconds to play to give Connecticut a 59-54 lead. The Wildcats' Corey Fisher drilled a three-pointer with 35 seconds to go and after a foul by Villanova's Corey Stokes, the Wildcats remained alive when Walker missed two free throws with 31 seconds remaining. Fisher was then fouled by Walker on the ensuing possession, and he made two free throws to knot the contest. The Huskies' Shabazz Napier held the ball until 10 seconds remained before Walker took a pass, and spun in the lane and hit the game-winner. Fisher's three-point heave at the buzzer was off target.

Walker, who has led the Huskies in scoring in every game this season, finished with 24 points, despite an off shooting night. He made just six-of-18 from the floor, but he had six rebounds and a team-high five assists. Alex Oriakhi registered his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb had a terrific game for the Huskies, scoring 14 points and tying his career-high with eight rebounds.

Fisher had a season-high 28 points but leading scorer Corey Stokes, who came in averaging 16.5 points per game, was held to just three free throws, primarily guarded by Roscoe Smith.

Both teams shot poorly in the opening twenty minutes (each shot 24 percent), but each squad picked it up after intermission. Villanova shot 52 percent in the second twenty minutes, while the Huskies converted on 48 percent of their second half offerings.

The Huskies scored the game's first 10 points as Villanova missed their first 10 shots from the field. Villanova battled back to tie the contest with 8:12 to play before halftime, taking their first lead on a Fisher jumper with 3:03 to play.

Malik Wayns added nine points for Villanova, while Mouphtaou Yarou had eight points and ten rebounds.

The Huskies will now play their final non-conference game of the season when they play host to Tennessee at the XL Center on Saturday, January 22. Tip-off is called for 2:00 p.m. and the contest will be televised-nationally by CBS.