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Huskies hang tough, stun Spartans

Kemba Walker, trying to get around Michigan State’s Korie Lucious in the second half, had 30 points for the Huskies.

Associated Press

Kemba Walker, trying to get around Michigan State’s Korie Lucious in the second half, had 30 points for the Huskies.

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun joked last week that he still didn't know all his players' names, much less how good they're going to be.

After knocking out a heavyweight in a championship-caliber bout, he has a right to believe these young Huskies are for real.

Trading blows in the first half and big shots in the second, Connecticut solidified its return to elite-program status by knocking off No. 2 Michigan State 70-67 in a physical Maui Invitational semifinal Tuesday.

"We just showed the world we can play," said UConn's Kemba Walker, who had 30 points and hit a key jumper with less than a minute left.

Coming off a disappointing season, Connecticut (4-0) was looking for a prestige-building win. The Huskies got it, refusing to be pushed around by a team projected to be a title contender.

Walker hit the biggest shot, a fallaway jumper with 52 seconds left. Alex Oriakhi dominated inside for 15 points and 17 rebounds. UConn was good defensively, too, holding the Spartans (3-1) to 40 percent shooting.

The Huskies made it interesting by missing five free throws in the final 1:11, but they survived Draymond Green's midcourt heave at the buzzer to head into the championship game against No. 8 Kentucky.

"This is an absolute tremendous team win," Calhoun said.

Michigan State had three chances to tie in the final 20 seconds, but Green missed two free throws, Kalin Lucas threw a pass to no one on a miscommunication with Durrell Summers and Green was just short on his desperation shot.

NO. 3 OHIO ST. 64, MOREHEAD ST. 45: Jon Diebler had 20 points and David Lighty 11 as the host Buckeyes (4-0) won the Global Sports Invitational.

NO. 5 PITT 74, ROBERT MORRIS 53: Ashton Gibbs had 20 points and the host Panthers (6-0) improved to 29-0 against their suburban Pittsburgh rival.

NO. 6 KANSAS 82, TEXAS A&M-CC 41: Thomas Robinson had 15 points as the Jayhawks (4-0) set a team record with their 63rd consecutive home victory.

NO. 8 KENTUCKY 74, NO. 13 WASH. 67: Terrence Jones had 16 points and 17 rebounds and Brandon Knight scored 24 for the Wildcats (4-0), who used smothering defense to overcome 3-of-17 3-point shooting and beat the Huskies (3-1) in the Maui Invitational semifinals.

NO. 10 PURDUE 87, AUSTIN PEAY 65: JaJuan Johnson had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the host Boilermakers (4-0).

NO. 11 MISSOURI 72, WYOMING 62: Michael Dixon scored a career-high 17 as the Tigers (3-0) pulled away in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

NO. 14 MEMPHIS 102, TENN.-MARTIN 80: Will Coleman and Will Barton had 20 points each to lead a balanced offense for the host Tigers (5-0).

NO. 19 ILLINOIS 73, YALE 47: D.J. Richardson had 16 points for the host Illini (5-1), who held the Bulldogs to 27.1 percent shooting.

NO. 20 TEXAS 84, SAM HOUSTON ST. 50: Jordan Hamilton had 25 points, and the host Longhorns (4-1) gave coach Rick Barnes career victory No. 500.

NO. 22 GONZAGA 66, MARQUETTE 63: Steven Gray had 20 points and the Bulldogs (3-2) stopped a two-game losing streak in the third-place game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.

NO. 23 BYU 86, MVSU 36: Jimmer Fredette had 16 points for the host Cougars (4-0) in the second game of the South Padre Island Invitational.

NO. 25 UNC 80, UNC ASHEVILLE 69: Tyler Zeller scored a career-high 23 for the host Tar Heels (3-2), who blew most of a 22-point second-half lead before ending a two-game skid.

TAMPA 82, D.C. 60: Senior Glyn Hunter had a career-high 19 points for the host Spartans, 4-0 for the first time since 2004.

Women

UF 54, N. FLA. 51: The host Gators (3-1) trailed 47-42 with 6:32 left before Jordan Jones hit a 3-pointer that triggered an 8-0 run.

NO. 2 BAYLOR 100, TEXAS SO. 43: Brittney Griner had 27 points and picked up her school-record 251st career block for the host Bears (5-1).

NO. 5 XAVIER 71, LOUISVILLE 59: Amber Harris had a season-high 28 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, rallying the Musketeers (3-0) in their home opener.

USC 71, NO. 17 GEORGIA 63: Ashley Corral had 15 points and hit two key 3-pointers as the host Trojans upset the Bulldogs (3-1).

Huskies hang tough, stun Spartans 11/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 12:29am]
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