After beating Depaul for the first Big East Tournament victory in six years, the Connecticut Huskies jumped on Georgetown early, spurred by 13 Kemba Walker first half points, and finished out a 17-point win. Counting the Big East Championship loss to West Virginia last year, the first round loss in the NCAA Tournament to Ohio, and today, the Hoyas have lost three straight postseason games.
UConn's biggest weakness this season has been its dependence on Walker for all of their offense, but today they got a huge boost from underclassmen Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Jeremy Lamb on the wings -- both in double figures for the game. They used their height advantage over Jason Clark and quickness to get by Jerrelle Benimon to exploit the shaky Georgetown defense and create lanes for Kemba to work. Roscoe Smith and Shabazz Napier also got out in the open floor to push the tempo faster than John Thompson III would like to play. Walker still led the team in points (28), rebounds (8), and assists (4), but he got his teammates involved and secured the W for his team.
Without the services of Chris Wright until the Big Dance, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark were forced to take the reins of instigators of the offense. Neither of them are the distributor that Wright is, and the team combined for just one assist midway through the second half and finished with just three for the game. Against a pesky team like UConn, with Walker getting his hands all over the passing lanes, you're not going to win many games playing "break your man down" on the perimeter. You've got to take it into Alex Oriakhi and Charles Okwandu, get them in foul trouble and force Kemba to do too much from behind.
The Huskies will face number one seed Pittsburgh in the next round, taking another step forward into the Gerry McNamara-patented 5 wins in 5 days. Georgetown, though undoubtedly disheartened by their four straight losses, should be getting a 6 or 7 seed from the Committee next Sunday.