College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Junior guard Kemba Walker is having a nice time in Hawaii, enjoying the close quarters at the Maui Invitational to lead his Connecticut Huskies to the tournament championship Tuesday night with a hard-earned 70-67 win over #2 Michigan State.
Walker tuned up for the trip by ripping 42 points against Vermont last Wednesday, then proceeded to tear up Wichita State with 31 points on Monday before hanging 30 on the Spartans.
Hitting 10 of 19 shots overall, Walker nailed down 4 of 11 three-pointers and was 6-for-7 at the line. He added four assists and three steals in his 38 minutes on the floor, there nearly every step of the way helping his team prevail in a hotly-contested tourney semi-final which witnessed multiple ties and lead changes.
The 6'1" native of the Bronx has been the Huskies' primary distributor over the past two seasons, but has always had a knack for scoring, averaging 8.9 points per game in 2008-09 and 14.6 in 2009-10. This year the scoring average is at an elevated 30.3 and the Huskies, who missed the NCAA tournament last season, are back on the championship map.
#8 Kentucky prevailed over #13 Washington, 74-67, in the other semi-final. The Wildcats and Huskies meet in the tournament final at 10:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast internationally by ESPN.
Notable: #1 Duke proved why they deserve their top ranking with an 82-68 win over #4 Kansas State in the championship game of the CBE Classic. The Blue Devils were never challenged, racing to an 8-point half time lead and keeping the Wildcats at bay the rest of the way. Freshman Kyrie Irving and senior Nolan Smith led the Devils in scoring with 17 points apiece, but it was Duke's perimeter defense which carried the day, limiting K-State star, Jacob Pullen, to 4 points on 1-for-12 shooting and stopped the Wildcats at the three-point line, where they were a horrid 3-for-17.