Huskies Set To Take On Kentucky In Second Round Game On Sunday At 2:30 p.m.
UConn Quotes Follow Story
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 17, 2006) Top-seeded Connecticut used a furious 34-9 rally to end the game, in coming back to defeat an extremely game 16th-seeded Albany squad, 72-59, in the First Round of the 2006 NCAA Championship at the Wachovia Center.
The win sends the Huskies into a second round contest against Kentucky -- a No. 8 seed and a first round winner of Alabama-Birmingham on Friday in Philadelphia. That game will be played on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Connecticut has now won all 14 First Round NCAA Tournament games that head coach Jim Calhoun has the led the Huskies. UConns record on the season improves to 28-3 overall while Albany, the regular season and tournament champions of the America East Conference, finish the year at 21-11.
Albany led for much of the game, and after Connecticuts Rudy Gay (Baltimore, Md.) hit the second halfs first basket, the Great Danes scored the games next 13 points to lead 43-33 with 14:26 remaining. Albany extended their lead to 12, at 50-38 with 11:34 to go, but Connecticut, led by Marcus Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Denham Brown (Toronto, Ont.), roared back in the game. Juniro Josh Boone (Mt. Airy, Md.) started the Huskies off with a short jumper, before Williams and Brown combined to score 10 of UConns next 12 points. The Huskies took their first lead since halftime on Williams straight-away three-pointer with 5:49 to go. Hilton Armstrong (Peekskill, N.Y.) made a three-point play (his first points of the game) with 4:56 remaining, and Williams followed with another dagger three and the Huskies had finally secured the win.
Williams finished the game with a season-high 21 points on seven of 11 shooting, and he connected on a career-best five three-pointers. He was especially solid after intermission, scoring 16 points. He also had a game-high eight assists, against just two turnovers. In 20 games this year, he has yet to record less than five helpers. Brown was equally impressive for the Huskies. He finished with 17 points, and seemed to continually make the big shot for the Huskies. He has scored at least 16 points in five straight games. Boone had 13 points for UConn.
UConn led by a score of 31-30 at the half, shooting 65 percent from the field to compensate for sloppy ball handling that resulted in 11 turnovers. It marks the 26th time in 31 games this season that the Huskies have led at the break and UConn is now a perfect 26-0 in those contests. The Huskies finished shooting 59% (27 of 46), their best shooting performance since shooting 60% in a win over Georgetown on January 14.
The Great Danes took advantage of eight Husky turnovers in the first seven minutes and held the lead throughout much of the early going. UConn got on the board first, but Albany responded with a 9-1 run to take a 9-3 lead into the first media timeout. The Huskies responded with a 10-2 run of their own to take the lead back at 13-11 with 10:07 to go in the frame. The remainder of the half was a tight affair, with UConn never leading by more than three points and the Great Danes never jumping out by more than one point. By the time the half ended, it had featured four ties and eight lead changes and the Huskies held the one-point edge. Boone had nine points to lead UConn, while Lucious Jordan and Kirsten Zoellner each had eight to lead Albany, in the opening stanza.
The Great Danes were led by Jamar Wilson, who scored 19 points and had six assists.
March 17, 2006
Connecticut vs. Albany Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Jim Calhoun
They put us into a situation where I think I witnessed our poorest offensive effort maybe in close to 20 yeas at UConn. I give all the credit to Albanys offense and defense, which created 11 turnovers in the first half. We started the second half by turning the ball over three or four times. It looked like we were trying to go 1-on-5 like we had never been coached before.
What they ran into the last eight or nine minutes is a team thats been through championships, obviously has talent, but was a team that was really trying to find itself in the midst of an NCAA Tournament game down 10-12 points.
All I know simply is Albany was magnificent for 30 minutes, and we were equally if not more magnificent the last 10 minutes of the ball game.
Im really proud of the fact that it didnt knock our team out. It knocked it down. Youre down 12, and youre the 1 seed in Philadelphia here. We stayed with it. Thats a credit to our kids. They did a wonderful job. We got the right combination and got the game.
We drew the entire country in to watch history being made and history wasnt made. Thank god because of the performance of these kids.
Brown: Asked about the halftime message Staying poised. Thats what really won us the game. Also determination in the second half by myself, Marcus and the rest of the guys on the team.
Brown: Its our 28th win of the season. We are just finding ways to win. We havent been up every game, every half. We are a championship team in our heart. These are the types of games that are testing us for whats down the road for us.
Williams: Asked about the halftime message I think we stressed defense. We were letting guys, especially myself, we were letting guys get to the rim a lot easier than I should have. I think we picked it up in the second half. I think Craig (Austrie) had some big stops. Denham had a key block on the Wilson kid. We executed our offense and capitalized on stops.
Boone: Marcus (Williams) really took over the game, making shots and making plays. Thats the type of player he is.
Boone: When you are a 16 seed playing a one seed, youve got nothing to lose. You just play and see what happens. Thats what they did, and they played well.
Boone: We didnt want to go out in the first round. We went out earlier than we wanted last year and didnt want to have that happen again.
Anderson: We got about seven stops in a row. Denham and Marcus knocked down some big shots. We just turned it up a notch on defense.