Big East Tournament News and Notes, Day 3 …..

Posted on Mar 11 2011 - 7:37pm by Brent Lepping

– Kemba freaking Walker. In the early game yesterday he did it again. Another dagger from one of the most clutch players in the entire nation. With 10 seconds left in regulation, Walker took a few dribbles around the top of the key, pulled it back out, and then went in for the kill. With a hard jab step towards the basket, he nearly broke Gary McGee’s ankles before stepping back and draining a 17-footer as time expired to give the Huskies the upset win over 1-seed Pitt, 76-74. It was just another in a long line of clutch shots with the game on the line for Walker. This season he’s also stuck daggers in the hearts of Washington, Villanova, and Texas. After the game, head coach Jim Calhoun called Walker, “the most important player to any one team in the entire country”. It’s hard to argue at this point. Uconn has now won three games in three days and looks like they’re gaining momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. Walker finished with 24 points, giving him a third straight dominating performance in the Big East Tournament (he also had 26 nd 28, respectively in the two previous games). Pitt got a phenomenal scoring effort from guard Ashton Gibbs (27 pts, 4 assists) but in the end, it wasn’t enough to slow down the Huskies.

– In the second game, Syracuse ended St. John’s string of luck, 79-73. The Red Storm were only in this game afer receiving a little help from the referee’s in yeterday’s controversial game against Rutgers. Late in the game, Steve Lavin’s gritty team had no answer for freshman Fab Melo, who finished with 12 points. Melo got in the lane and caused a match-up problem for the undersized Red Storm and was able to exploit a blatant weakness. Brandon Triche led the way for The Orange with 22 pts and 6 rebs, and Justin Brownlee was solid for St. John’s with 15 pts and 7 rebs. First Team All-Big East performer Dwight Hardy also had 22 pts for the Red Storm (21-11). Also, on a sad note, St. John’s senior DJ Kennedy tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. A tough break for the Red Storm as Kennedy has been one of its best players all year and a steady hand for Lavin. Syracuse will play Uconn tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the first semi-final.

– Yesterday, did someone on this site predict a Cincinnati upset over Notre Dame???? Uhhh, I think that must have been a misprint. No, in all seriousness, that idiot was me and I’ll gladly eat crow this morning. I loved the way Cincinnati looked on Wednesday night as they smothered South Florida and took away all their scoring options. I thought they could translate that pressure to Notre Dame and give their long-range shooters fits. Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. The Irish DESTROYED the Bearcats’ defense from the opening tip until the final buzzer, finishing with the second biggest margin-of-victory in Big East Tournament history, 89-51. The two-headed monster of Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis, torched the nets all night long and finshed with 23 and 17 points, respectively. Hansbrough dissected the Cincinnati defense throughout the entire game and scored from all over the court, making elbow jumbers, three’s, and a variety of tough floaters and lay-up’s around the rim. While Kemba Walker is making his case that perhaps there should have been a different name associated with Big East player of the year, Hansbrough reminded us that he deserved the award and has shown no signs of slowing down. On a side note, no one from Cincinnati even deserves to be mentioned in this write-up. Nice showing and way to get embarrassed.

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