Nov. 17, 2010
HARTFORD, Conn. - Junior guard Kemba Walker poured in a career-high 42 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the University of Connecticut men's basketball team to an 89-73 victory over Vermont on Wednesday evening at the XL Center in Hartford. With the win, UConn improves to 2-0 on the season while the Catamounts slip to 1-1.
Walker's 42 tied the XL Center record, which was set by former Husky great Cliff Robinson on December 28, 1987 against Hartford. The 42 also tied for the most points scored by a Husky under head coach Jim Calhoun. The Bronx, N.Y. native was 15-of-24 from the field, including 5-of-9 from long-range. His previous career high was 29 points.
Sophomore Alex Oriakhi added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and contributed seven rebounds. The Lowell, Mass. native also blocked a career-best five shots.
Freshman Roscoe Smith was the only other Husky in double-figures with 15 points. Smith buried each of the 3-point field goals he attempted.
Connecticut trailed by three points, 36-33, at the half but the Huskies reclaimed a 39-38 lead after Walker buried a pair of free throws at the 18:20 mark.
The Huskies would stretch the lead to nine points and seemed poised to pull away but Vermont's Matt Glass drilled yet another 3-pointer with 12:50 remaining to cut the UConn lead to 56-50. That was as close as the Catamounts would get though as Connecticut charged out to a 21-7 run over the next 6:30 to seize a commanding 77-57 lead after Smith nailed back-to-back 3-pointers.
UConn put it on cruise control from there, en route to the 89-73 victory.
Connecticut was dominant down low on Wednesday, outrebounding the Catamounts by a 44-to-30 count and holding a 42-to-26 advantage in points in the paint. The Huskies also outscored UVM 19-to-5 in second chance points.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle, featuring five ties and eight lead changes. The Catamounts scored the game's first four points and jumped out to a 9-2 lead after Matt Glass hit the first of his three first-half 3-point field goals. Kemba Walker answered by scoring the Huskies' next five points to spark a 7-0 spurt that tied the game, 9-9, just 3:30 into the contest.
Walker would go on to score 12 of the Huskies first 16 points, and Connecticut went on to take a six-point lead, 29-23, after Donnell Beverly converted on a put back at the 7:10 mark. However, UConn went cold and would only connect on one more field goal for the remainder of the half.
Vermont took advantage and mounted a 13-4 run to take a 36-33 halftime lead.
The Huskies return to action on Monday, November 22 when the team heads west for the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Connecticut will play its first-round game against Wichita State. Game time is set for 3 p.m. eastern and the contest will be televised by ESPN2.