Connecticut tops Arizona to advance to Final Four

A quick take on Connecticut’s 65-63 win over Arizona that will send the lone Big East team remaining in the NCAA tournament to the Final Four:

How the game was won: Arizona’s Jamelle Horn hit a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to pull Arizona to with 65-63. And even though neither team scored the rest of the way, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a thrilling finish. Connecticut ran some clock and Shabazz Napier missed a shot from beyond the arc and Horn grabbed the rebound with 23 seconds left. Both Derrick Williams and Horn had decent looks from downtown in that final possession, but neither could get a shot to go down as the Huskies held on. It was the Huskies’ ninth-straight win and will be their fourth trip to the Final Four (1999, 2004, 2009).

Star gazing: Kemba Walker was the star that kept Connecticut in the game, and for his tournament efforts, he was named the West Region MVP. He played 40 minutes and had a team-high 20 points, although he was 1 for 7 from downtown and 7 of 17 overall from the field. Jeremy Lamb was the star that won the game for Connecticut. Lamb scored six points on a decisive 10-0 run that gave the Huskies a 62-55 lead with 3:11 left. Lamb finished the run with a steal and a slam, and finished with 19.

Meanwhile, Williams, who had such a monster game against Duke with 32 points and 13 rebounds was limited to just seven points in the first half after he was in foul trouble. He still managed to score 20 points, but shot just 1 for 6 from downtown, including a potential-game winning 3 with 10 seconds left. Jesse Perry contributed 14 in the loss.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well from the field, as both teams shot a combined 40.1 percent from the field.

Big East implications: Well, it isn’t completely a lost year for the much-maligned Big East. Even though Connecticut was the only Big East team to advance to the Elite 8, the conference will have another shot of sending its first team to the NCAA Tournament Championship since the inception of the 16-team league.

What’s next: Connecticut travels to Houston where it will play the winner of the Kentucky vs. North Carolina game.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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