No. 7 Villanova Vs. No. 8 UConn: Clutch Kemba Walker Gives Huskies 61-59 Big Monday Win

Kemba Walker put UConn over Villanova with seconds left to hand Nova its first Big East loss.

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VIDEO: Kemba Walker's Game-Winning Shot Against Villanova

To view Walker's game winning shot in the 2011 Big East Tournament, click here

Days after knocking down a game-winner against the Texas Longhorns, Kemba Walker was at it again on Big Monday against the Villanova Wildcats. Similar to last week’s game against Texas, Walker was called on with time running out to secure the victory despite a shaky shooting effort on the day.

Walker took the ball with room to operate, split two Nova defenders like they weren’t even there, and then pulled up to drop a one-handed floater, looking impossible to defend the entire way (apologies for the lack of audio in the first video):

He isn’t perfect, but he’s clutch, and that counts for something. Though it can take him a while and quite a few shots to get going, there isn’t a player in the nation you’d rather have take the last shot with the game on the line.

For more on this game join The Nova Blog or The UConn Blog.

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Villanova Vs. UConn Final Score: Huskies 61, Wildcats 59 As Kemba Walker Scores With Seconds Left

The Big Monday showdown between Connecticut Huskies guard Kemba Walker and Villanova Wildcats guard Corey Fisher came down to the final seconds, as Walker hit a driving floater to break a 59-59 tie and give UConn the win. The Wildcats now have their first Big East loss.

Walker finished with 24 points, Fisher with 28. Though Fisher shot better from the floor, Walker got to the line more often, hitting nine times from the free throw line.

UConn’s Alex Oriakhi and Nova’s Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed 12 and 10 rebounds respectively. There were plenty of boards to be grabbed, especially in the first half when both teams shot 24 percent. Some have speculated the early weekday tipoff may have left each team’s scorers feeling sluggish.

Villanova will try to bounce back against Tennessee, while there’s no rest for UConn, who will get Syracuse next.

For more on this game join The Nova Blog or The UConn Blog.

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Villanova Vs. UConn: Score Still Tight In Big Monday Scrap

After a hideous first half, the Villanova Wildcats have stepped up their marksmanship from the floor. They’re now shooting 34.6 percent for the game, which amounts to their second half being much better than their first. Nova has caught the Connecticut Huskies case of the butterfingers though, turning the ball over a handful of times after doing a good job of ball control in the first half.

Nova led by as much as seven in the second half, but a Kemba Walker free throw has just tied it up at 46 with about five minutes left. This has been a very streaky game, with both teams holding big leads at one point or another.

Walker has 14, bested by only Corey Fisher’s 17. Fisher has gone cold after a great start, with only two points since the 17-minute mark of the second half.

For more on this game join The Nova Blog or The UConn Blog.

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Villanova Vs. UConn: Low-Scoring Big Monday First Half Marred By Terrible Shooting

With both teams shooting a majestic 24 percent, the Villanova Wildcats have taken a 22-21 halftime lead over the Connecticut Huskies. After building a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes UConn went ice cold, while Nova has almost made it all the way back to room temperature. Corey Stokes in particular has been impressively errant, going 0-for-5.

UConn star Kemba Walker has looked like a bowling ball crashing towards the hoop, a bowling ball that is not graceful at shooting. He’s hit three of his 10 shots to produce 10 points, while Nova’s top scorer, Corey Fisher, has 11 points on one fewer shot.

The Huskies have started coughing the ball up in addition to throwing bricks, turning the ball over six times. Two of those were by Alex Oriakhi, who’s exhausted after cleaning up all this horrid shooting and grabbing eight rebounds.

For more on this game join The Nova Blog or The UConn Blog.

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Villanova Vs. UConn: Nova Scores In Burst To Close First-Half Lead

Connecticut Huskies guard Kemba Walker has been everywhere so far, putting up eight points, two rebounds, and an assist as the Huskies built a 12-6 lead early on. The Villanova Wildcats battled back though, pulling the score to 15-14 UConn with about six minutes left in the first half.

The Big Monday opener has been competitive and spirited, but littered with bad shooting. UConn is shooting just over 30 percent from the field, which is actually far better than what Nova’s mustered. The Wildcats are hitting only 20 percent of their shots.

Alex Oriakhi and Mouphtaou Yarou are taking advantage of all the brickwork, with each collecting six rebounds already. There have been 28 rebounds up for grabs though, so there are plenty of boards to go around. It’s a holiday, guys.

For more on this game join The Nova Blog or The UConn Blog, our two most creatively named blogs.

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No. 7 Villanova Vs. No. 8 UConn: Can Nova Stay Undefeated In The Big East?

GAME NOTES: It certainly appeared that Villanova was going to lose a non-conference game against Maryland on Saturday, as the Wildcats trailed by double figures in the second half. That's when they went on an improbable 19-0 run en route to a 74-66 victory over the Terps. Villanova is now 16-1 overall, including 4-0 in Big East action, and the team has won its last 11 games.

UConn's current winning streak is far less impressive than that of Villanova, but the Huskies have won three in a row nonetheless to improve to 14-2 overall and 3-2 in conference. DePaul was no match for the Huskies on Saturday, as Jim Calhoun's squad rolled to an 82-62 triumph. Expect a confident group of Huskies today, as they are a perfect 9-0 at home thus far.

Villanova owns a 32-28 series advantage over Connecticut, but the Huskies have won the last two meetings.

There is no doubt that a 43-33 rebounding advantage played a major role in the victory for Villanova over Maryland on Saturday. The Wildcats held a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass, and a 15-10 advantage in points from the foul line also helped the cause. Maalik Wayns came through with 22 big points for 'Nova in the triumph, and fellow guard Corey Fisher tallied 17 points and five assists. Antonio Pena managed 14 points and 10 boards, and it is impressive that the 'Cats were able to win the game despite 12 combined points from star guard Corey Stokes and center Mouphtaou Yarou. To his credit, Yarou did have 12 boards, while reserve Isaiah Armwood grabbed 13 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Overall this season, Stokes is averaging 16.5 ppg on the strength of his 44.9 percent shooting from three-point range. Fisher isn't far behind with 15.4 ppg, while Wayns rounds out arguably the nation's best backcourt with 13.8 ppg and 94 assists. The Wildcats are generating 77.6 ppg while surrendering 62.0 ppg to opponents on 38.6 percent field goal efficiency.

No player in the nation is more important to his team than Kemba Walker is to UConn. The standout guard has led the Huskies in scoring in all 16 games thus far and he is averaging 25.6 ppg to go along with other team-highs of 60 assists and 37 steals. The only other double-digit scorer in the fold is Alex Oriakhi, who checks in with 10.9 ppg and 9.2 rpg. Oriakhi is shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and he has blocked 38 shots. The Huskies are posting 76.6 ppg, and they have been able to limit opponents to 38.1 percent field goal efficiency and 64.5 ppg. Strong defense was again the key against DePaul, as UConn limited the Blue Demons to 31.9 percent field goal efficiency. The Huskies, who shot 50.9 percent at the offensive end, got a 31-point effort from Walker. Fellow guard Jeremy Lamb pitched in 13 points, and Oriakhi tallied 11 points from his center position.

Villanova is the more balanced of these two teams, and while Walker is a sensational talent, his Huskies won't have enough firepower to fend off the Wildcats.

GAME NOTES: The Villanova Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies will do battle today in what promises to be a close Big East Conference contest from start to finish.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,027) -- Storrs, Connecticut. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Villanova 11-0, UConn 9-0. Away Record: Villanova 4-0, UConn 2-2. Neutral Record: Villanova 1-1, UConn 3-0. Conference Record: Villanova 4-0, UConn 3-2. Series Record: Villanova leads, 32-28.

Villanova 72, Connecticut 67

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