Showing posts with label Kemba Walker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kemba Walker. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kemba Walker is Tourney's Top Choice on Round of 64 Day One

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Determining a Player of the Day on the first full day of action in the Round of 64 was no easy task, as Butler's Matt Howard, BYU's Jimmer Fredette and Florida's Chandler Parsons all were worthy participants, but the nod goes to UConn's suprelative Kemba Walker, who willed his team to a wide-open, 81-52, win over Bucknell, the largest margin of victory of the tournament thus far.

Walker didn't do a lot of shooting, hitting 5 of 11 shots from the field, but he nailed a pair of three-pointers, was 6-for-6 at the foul line, dished 12 assists and hauled in 8 rebounds for a true all-around fine performance.

The win was Connecticut's 6th straight, a run that includes a record five wins to capture the Big East tourney. The Huskies move into the next round against some familiar faces, the Cincinnati Bearcats, a team they've already handled, 67-59, on the Bearcats' home court.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kemba Walker Hits Buzzer-Beater to Oust Pitt from Big East Tourney

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Having just about done everything that could be expected from a player this season, including leading the NCAA in scoring for the first few weeks of the season and bringing a suspect Connecticut squad into national prominence, Kemba Walker put an exclamation point on his season as he calmly tossed in an 18-foot jumper as time expired to catapult the Huskies to a 76-74 quarterfinal win over Pitt in the Big East tournament.

With Panther defenders focused on limiting his penetration and scoring, Walker had a tough night shooting, going 8-for-22 from the field, but he nailed down 8 of 9 from the foul line and led the Huskies in scoring with 24 points. Walker also grabbed 5 boards and tossed five assists. Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs led all scorers with 27 points, hitting 6 of 7 from three-point range.

Connecticut advances to the semi-finals to face Syracuse, 79-73 winners over St. John's, at 7:00 pm Friday night. The Orange and Huskies met two years ago in the Big East tournament and produced a classic, 6-overtime game won by the Orange. Syracuse was the only Big East team to beat St. John's at Madison Square Garden, also having done so during the regular season.

In the other quarterfinal games, Notre Dame dispatched Cincinnati with ease, winning, 89-51, and Louisville took a seven point lead into half time and outscored Marquette by 20 in the second half for an 81-56 victory.

The Cardinals and Fighting Irish face off in the other semi-final match-up, following the SU-UConn tilt.

NOTABLE: Colorado seems to have secured their NCAA berth, dumping Kansas State for the third time this season while advancing to the semi-finals in the Big 12 with an 87-75 win. The Buffaloes face #2 Kansas in one semi-final at 7:00 pm ET. Texas and Texas A&M square off in the other semi-final game.

In the PAC-10 conference tourney, USC plays Arizona and Washington takes on Oregon in semi-final action Friday night.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walker, Huskies Halt Hoyas Streak at Eight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As tournament time approaches, teams and individual players are bent on winning key games and making statements in hope that the selection committee will award them with a comfortable seeding, preferably a six or better and close to home.

Kemba Walker and the Connecticut Huskies did just that Wednesday night, stopping Georgetown's winning streak at eight straight with a 78-70 win at the XL Center in Hartford.

Walker, who had been leading the NCAA in scoring back in November and December, was looking for his shot first against the Hoyas, though he did manage to record a double-double with 31 points and 10 assists, ripping through the Georgetown defense like a fine-tuned coping saw.

The senior point guard was 13-for-23 from the field, 4-for-8 from the foul line and added seven rebounds in one of his best efforts of the season. Sophomore forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, recently promoted to starting forward, added 23 points after scoring a career high 25 in Georgetown's win over Providence Sunday.

The win pushed Connecticut further into the mid-level morass in the Big East. The Huskies are now 8-5 in conference play, tied for 4th place with St. John's, Villanova and Louisville. The Hoyas are just a half game ahead, in third place, at 9-5, trailing 10-3 Notre Dame and 12-1 Pittsburgh.

NOTABLE: Cincinnati improved to 20-6 and 7-6 in conference with a determined 63-54 home win over Louisville, giving the Bearcats a quality win and reason to believe they'll be going to the Big Dance along with 8 or 9 other Big East teams. Near the top of the Top 25, Texas, Pitt, Duke and San Deigo St., respectively ranked 3, 4, 5, and 6, all won over unranked opposition. #11 Pudue upended #10 Wisconsin, and #18 Vanderbilt, #24 Xavier and #25 Utah State were all winners.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Kemba Walker Records Triple-Double in 7th UConn Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 3, 2010

Connecticut's Kemba Walker continues to amaze and astound the collective basketball community. After seven games - all UConn wins - he continues to lead the nation in scoring, at 29.1 ppg, while others behind him gradually peel away. Besides Anatoly Bose of Nicholls St. (27.4) and Appalachian State's Donald Sims (26.8), the only players from major conferences within shouting distance are Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson (25.4), followed by Xavier's Tu Holloway and Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell, both at an even 24.0 ppg. Even the reliable Jimmer Fredette of BYU is far back at 23.1.

Now, Walker may be slowing the pace of his scoring down a bit, but in the Huskies' 93-61 romp over UMBC he may have had his best overall game of the season, scoring a mere 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers), though he did haul in 5 offensive rebounds and 8 more on the defensive end for a total of 13, and dished out 10 assists for the rare triple-double, all accomplished in just 30 minutes of floor time. Walker's totals were game highs in each of the three categories. For good measure he also made a steal and blocked a shot. Pretty amazing.

Even though the outlandish totals were accomplished against somewhat of a pushover team - after all, UMBC is the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers - Walker's been doing it to competitors at all levels. It should be worth watching how he fares once Big East play gets underway, beginning December 27 at Pittsburgh. In the meantime, Walker should be able to pad his stats in three upcoming home games, when the Huskies will host Farleigh Dickenson, Coppin State and Harvard.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

MUSH! Kemba Walker Leads Huskies Past Wildcats

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After bouncing #2 Michigan State out of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night, Kemba Walker delivered a suitably virtuoso encore in the tourney final, leading the UConn Huskies to an 84-67 win over the #8 Kentucky Wildcats, putting the Huskies back on the top-ranked map.

For the Wildcats and head coach, John Calipari, it's back to practice and the drawing board. Kentuky certainly has more than their share of fine, young talent, but they were no match for the determined Huskies and Walker, who led all scorers again with 29 points and was named tourney MVP.

Walker was 12-0f-16 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, adding six assists and a pair of steals.

The Huskies, who exit the tournament with some hardware and a 5-0 record, were not ranked going into the tourney, but almost surely will be in the top 15 next week. A very youthful Kentucky team will have to develop over the course of the season if they plan to make any noise in the NCAA tournament come March.

Michigan state bounced back from their semi-final loss to upend #14 Washington, 76-71 in the consolation match.

Walker started the season with 18 points in the Huskies' win over Stoney Brook, but has been a terror to opposing defenses ever since, scoring 42, 31, 30 and 29 in his next four games. He leads the nation in scoring with a 30.0 average, but is followed closely by Nicholls State's Anatoly Bose, at 29.0 and Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois, with 28.8.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kemba Walker Goes for 30 as Huskies Drop #2 Michigan State

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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wild, Wild East: Villanova Falls to UConn

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 15, 2010

With the post-season staring them in the eye, the UConn Huskies had their head coach, Jim Calhoun, back from medical leave and a trip to Villanova standing between a lost season and respectability. The Huskies had lost 8 of their last 11 games and needed a road win over the Big East leaders to salvage any hope of making it to the Big Dance come March.

What they got was a career-best game from point guard Kemba Walker and a resounding 84-75 triumph that signaled to the rest of the Big East that the Huskies were not yet dead. Walker scored 29 points, hitting 14 of 16 free throws in the process, to go with 9 boards, 3 assists and a pair of steals. The sophomore guard's frequent forays into the lane turned into baskets, free throws and 11 offensive rebounds (4 by Walker) while the swarming Husky defense limited Villanova's shooters to just 40% from the field and a 40-29 rebounding edge.

Villanova's loss was just their second in the conference, dropping them into a tie with Syracuse at 11-2 for the Big East lead.

Where the Huskies tread from here is a matter of the calendar. At 5-8 in the conference, but 15-11 overall, they still are not under the radar of the selection committee. They have an upcoming road game vs. Rutgers, then host West Virginia and Louisville before finishing off the regular season at Notre Dame and South Florida. Winning at least four of their final five games looks to be essential, ensuring that UConn would finish up at least .500 in the conference. A good showing in the Big east tournament then might get them into the field of 65.

What should concern the Huskies is the overall depth of the Big East. Only two teams - DePaul and Providence - have losing records, meaning there are 14 Big East teams eyeing post-season fun. UConn will likely have to get some help.