Thursday, December 10, 2009


The headline match-up of the 2009 SEC/Big East Invitational did not disappiont as John Calipari's Cats Hold off Huskies (NY Post) at Madison Square Garden in Kentucky's 64-61 win over Connecticut.

Highly touted freshman John Wall, a near lock for the #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, matched the hype that has been bestowed upon him by scoring 25 points and harassing UConn with six steals. Wall Was the Difference in an Amazing Game (Hartford Courant) as Jim Calhoun's No. 14 Huskies Fall Short to No. 4 Kentucky in a Thriller (TheDay.com).

Wall got UK off and running, thrilling the crowd with an end-to-end lay-up and finishing an alley-oop on a break as he scored six of the Wildcats' 12 points in an opening 12-0 spurt to start the game in the first three minutes. After using two timeouts, including one 33 seconds into the game where Calhoun pulled senior Jerome Dyson from the game, UConn responded with a 20-6 run to take the lead. UConn led by as many as eight points in the first half and took a 29-23 lead at the half as UK was slowed by foul trouble.

In the second half UConn Crashed into the Wall (New Haven Register) full bore as the star frosh scored 11 of UK's 14 points to pull out the victory.

“He’s all of that, whatever that is,” Jim Calhoun said of Wall after the game. “He’s a tremendous, tremendous player. He’s no freshman.”

Wall scored one big basket after another over the final 7 1/2 minutes, including a conventional three-point play with 30.8 seconds left that put Kentucky (9-0) ahead for good, 63-61. The Huskies could not come up with a big score of their own in the final seconds and a Ramone Harris free throw provided the final margin of victory.

Dyson led UConn with 17 points, Gavin Edwards had 16 points, 8 rebounds and three blocked shots, Kemba Walker scored 12 and Stanley Robinson added 10 points and 9 rebounds. Connecticut, which turned the ball over 19 times and missed 10 of 24 free throw attempts, falls to 6-2 on the regular season with both losses come on the Madison Square Garden floor. The also lost to Duke last month at MSG in the finals of the NIT Tip-off Tournament.

The Huskies are now off until December 20th when they wrap up the pre-conference schedule with UCF, Maine and Iona before starting Big East play at Cincinnati on December 30th.



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