No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Leads Huskies To Upset

Michigan State and UConn face off in semifinal action of the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Helps Huskies Pull Upset

That was a classic college basketball game.

The UConn Huskies, supposedly in a rebuilding year, just upset the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans 70-67. Junior Kemba Walker was phenomenal all evening. His 30 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals led the way for the Huskies. Walker now has 61 points in his two games in Maui thus far.

UConn got 15 points and 17 rebounds (9 offensive) from Alex Oriakhi and freshman Roscoe Smith added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks as well. The Huskies also out-rebounded the Spartans 34-33.

Walker just simply dominated a game in which Michigan State’s whole gameplan was geared to stop him.

For the Spartans, Draymond Green played very well. Green scored 22 points, grabbed 12 boards, dished 5 assists and had 3 blocks. Green didn’t even start tonight but was the best player on the floor for Michigan State.

This was just a fantastic early season game. Kudos to both teams for playing at such a high level.

UConn will face the winner of the second semifinal tonight, as No. 8 Kentucky and No. 13 Washington face off in about 30 minutes.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Tied Up Late

This is turning out to be an early season classic. What a game. With 3:20 left in the game, the Spartans and Huskies are tied at 66.

Draymond Green continues to show off, as he’s not racked up 21 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

On the other side, Kemba Walker continues to impress. Walker has 28 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He’s been helped out by Alex Oriakhi, who has 14 points and 11 rebounds.

This is shaping up to be a great finish.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Now Taking Over

Can anyone stop Kemba Walker? Can anyone even hope to contain him? The answer thus far in 2010 would be a resounding “no.”

Walker is blowing up in Maui, and taking over this game. With 6:11 left in the game and his Huskies down 61-60, Walker has 28 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He’s hit three-pointers (4-of-9), hit pull-ups and scored on acrobatic drives and finishes,

Is there anything he can’t do offensively? It doesn’t seem like it. He is so much fun to watch in person. Loving this.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Draymond Green Stepping Up

Draymond Green is taking over here in Maui as this game is taking on the feel of a March contest. The Spartans currently lead 58-55 with 9:34 remaining.

Green just nailed a 26-footer, his second three-pointer of the game, that gives him 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists on the night.

But, in classic Kemba Walker fashion, the junior had an answer with the three-pointer of his own. Walker leads all scorers with 24 points, and has added 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Michigan State currently leads the all-important rebounding battle 26-24, and has looked much better in the second half on both ends of the floor.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Tied Up At The Half

Shabazz Napier somehow nailed a 25-foot three-pointer with Mike Kebler in his face to tie the game at 34 at the half.

While Michigan State is the higher ranked team, UConn has played very well. Draymond Green has led the way for the Spartans with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Durrell Summers has 8 points and 6 rebounds so far, while Kalin Lucas has 7 points. The problem has been that Michigan State is settling for jump shots and not hitting them. The Spartans are shooting 36.4 (12-of-33) percent right now from the field, and are just 2-of-9 from behind the three-point line.

For UConn, Kemba Walker has picked up right where he left off yesterday. He scored 14 in the first half, while adding 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The Huskies have also showed some muscle so far in this one, as Alex Oriakhi has scored 10 points and added 9 rebounds.

It should be interesting to see how the Spartans come out in the second half. They were supposed to breeze through the two opening games of this tournament, and they’ve been hit in the mouth twice, last night by Chaminade and today by UConn.

Will Tom Izzo have an answer for his team’s early struggles?

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Getting Going

Well, Kemba Walker has certainly gotten going. The Spartans haven’t however.

Michigan State leads 28-27 with 3:01 left in the first half thanks largely to Durrell Summers’ 8 points. Kalin Lucas has added 7.

Walker has 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, while Michigan State is shooting just 37 percent. Alex Oriakhi has added 10 points and 10 rebounds (8 offensive) for the Huskies.

It really is ridiculous how fast Walker is on the break. He’s just so much quicker than everyone, no one, not even some of the ridiculously athletic guys Michigan State has can keep up with him.

Another guy I have to mention is freshman guard Shabazz Napier. UConn has a great freshman on their hands with this kid. He’s so good defensively, he just seems to never be out of position. He’s incredibly aggressive on the offensive end, but defensively he stands out.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Huskies And Alex Oriakhi Looking Good Early

Well, just when you pump up a matchup between two players, those guys fall to the background.

With 11:25 left in the first half, UConn has taken its first lead, 13-11 over the Spartans.

The guy dominating early has been forward Alex Oriakhi, who is 3-of-5 from the field, with 6 points and 4 rebounds (3 offensive). Neither Kalin Lucas (0-of-3 from the field) or Kemba Walker (1-of-2) has gotten going yet.

Expect them each to take over at some point.

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No. 2 Michigan State Vs. Connecticut: Semifinal Action In Maui

Typically when you think of Michigan State and UConn facing off typically an image of March comes to mind. But tonight, they'll matchup in November in the first semifinal of the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational.

This game should be memorable for two reasons: Kemba Walker and Kalin Lucas. This may be the best point guard matchup you'll see all season. Walker, a junior, is coming off a game in which he scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half to key a comeback win over Wichita State. Those 29 points were the most in a half in UConn history.

Lucas, still working his way back from an Achilles tendon injury suffered during the second round of the NCAA tournament, had 28 points last night in a 82-74 win over a pesky Chaminade team.

Lucas didn't get much help from his supporting cast last night and that has to change tonight if the Spartans want to reach the final. The Huskies shouldn't have much of an answer for Draymond Green and Delvon Roe down low and that is where Michigan State needs to take the ball. UConn is a talented team, but they are young and inexperienced. The Spartans must take advantage of that fact.

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