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UConn Hands Cats Worst Defeat In Tournament

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UConn Hands Cats Worst Defeat In Tournament

Post  Carolina Kat on Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:02 am

Updated: 12:45 AM ET Thu, Nov. 25, 2010

UK basketball: Championship game runs late in Hawaii

By Jerry Tipton / jtipton@herald-leader.com

LAHAINA, Hawaii — The third time held no charm for Kentucky.

As he did Monday and Tuesday, Kemba Walker led Connecticut to a victory in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, this time scoring 29 points to help the Huskies beat UK 84-67 in the finals.

The margin tied UK's worst defeat in this event (80-63 to John Calipari-coached Memphis in 2006).

The performance, which enabled Walker to come within three points of equalling the event's individual scoring record, validated Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo's friendly contention that Jim Calhoun was a "sand-bagger."

On Sunday, Calhoun lamented that the Huskies had a "bevy of nothing."

Then Walker unleashed a bevy of talents that buried Wichita State, then Michigan State and finally Kentucky. He was named Most Valuable Player of the Maui Invitational. UK's Terrence Jones joined him on the all-tournament team along with Alex Oriakhi of UConn, Steven Bennett of Chaminade and Kalin Lucas of Michigan State.

UK (4-1) had given up no more than 67 points all season. UConn (5-0) reached that number with 9:41 left.

Freshman Terrence Jones led Kentucky with 24 points. But it was a long night for him and his fellow freshmen. Brandon Knight made only three of 14 shots.

Before Kentucky headed west, Calipari predicted the Cats would be "broke" at some point. Then the program would learn a lot about its freshman-oriented team.

That breakage came in the final seven minutes of the first half. Although leading for only 10 seconds in the half, UK hung tough. The deficit was 29-27 when Doron Lamb hit a jumper with 7:05 left.

Then a basketball tsumani swept Kentucky into the locker room with a 50-29 halftime deficit to ponder.

As in earlier games here, Walker figured prominently for UConn. He scored 10 of the points in the 21-2 run. He lost DeAndre Liggins on a backdoor cut for a layup. He hit two free throws after fouled on a drive.

But he provided a psychological earthquake to match the real-life one that hit off-shore the night before.

With UK already trailing 42-29 and trying to limit the damage in the final few minutes, Walker rose up and hit a three-pointer over Brandon Knight to put the Cats 16 points behind.

After Calipari called time with 2:08 left, Kentucky missed two shots and Walker rose up for another three-pointer to complete his 17-point half. That left him 15 points from matching the Maui Invitational scoring record with 20 minutes to go.

In all, UConn scored the half's final 13 points.

Things weren't going swimmingly until then, but Kentucky was hanging in there. Six UConn turnovers helped nullify foul trouble. Jones picked up his second and went to the bench with 9:01 left.

Knight struggled again with turnovers, committing three in the half. That gave him 11 in the last three halves. UConn outscored Kentucky 14-0 in fast-break points.

The second half began with promise of "Miracle on Maui" headlines. Three straight three-pointers (two by Jones sandwiching one by Miller) brought the Cats within 15, 54-39, at the first television timeout.

UConn, which played at a fast clip in the first half, seemed intent on milking the clock rather than playing basketball.

Walker slowed the rally with a driving shot, giving him 21 points with 15:20 to go.

But after Shabazz Napier launched a NBA-length three-pointer in practically a no-pass possession and a Liggins basket returned the UK deficit to 15, UConn called time.

Calipari countered with that "funky" hybrid zone (which looked like a 3-2).

Knight's jumper brought the Cats within 13, 56-43. The Cats got no closer.

Napier hit a three-pointer off inside-out action to cool UK's jets. Walker's next basket signaled this was UConn's night. He lost the ball on a crossover, but teammate Niels Giffey's diving save returned the ball to Walker. He drove to a layup to make it 63-45 as UK assistant Orlando Antigua threw back his head in disbelief.

Travel plans

The UK traveling party plans to travel home Thanksgiving Day. The Cats have a late-morning flight off Maui.

If the schedule holds, UK will touch down at Lexington's Bluegrass Field at 1 a.m. Friday.

Carolina Kat
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Re: UConn Hands Cats Worst Defeat In Tournament

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:15 am

Terrrrrrrrrrible game!! We didn't have anything tonight but Jones, The kids are still young tho, Man wish we had Kanter.
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Re: UConn Hands Cats Worst Defeat In Tournament

Post  stuckinknoxville on Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:51 am

BestdamnUKfanperiod wrote:Terrrrrrrrrrible game!! We didn't have anything tonight but Jones, The kids are still young tho, Man wish we had Kanter.

Exactly. We saw why getting Kanter was crucial. Their center would not have faired that well against Enes.
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