The team that needed two overtimes to escape the Temple Owls wouldn’t get a chance at another one against Kemba Walker and the best Big East team still alive. UConn was led by the two-pronged attack of Kemba and Jeremy Lamb. No other Huskie scored more than 5 points. D.J. Gay couldn’t match Walker on the offensive or defensive end, and let up 36 points to the junior guard. Lamb’s production was stamped with an exclamation point at the end of the game when he stole a D.J. Gay pass that would have otherwise led to an easy finish to cut the lead to 2.
As expected, SDSU did a great job on the boards, securing 10 offensive rebounds to Connecticut’s 5, but Kawhi Leonard was hardly the force he needed to be for the Aztecs to take control of the game, managing just 12 points and 8 rebounds on 12 shots. Against the light Huskie interior, he and Malcolm Thomas needed to assert themselves and counter the huge advantage they’d have in guard play.
UConn’s big game experience came through as well as the game wound down. Calhoun had them running efficient offensive sets, while SDSU put up too many ill-advised shots and missed crucial crunch time free throws.
The Aztecs will be entirely revamped next season, losing seniors Billy White, Gay, and Thomas, and most likely Leonard to the NBA. Connecticut awaits the winner of Duke and Arizona, setting up an Elite 8 matchup with two basketball programs steeped in rich history.
On the other side of the bracket, BYU and Florida are still going at it in overtime.