Walker Leads Connecticut Past UMBC, 94-61
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s Kemba Walker showed he’s more than just the nation’s leading scorer.
The junior guard had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists Friday for his first career triple-double, leading No. 7 Connecticut to a 94-61 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County.
“I love having games like this,” Walker said. “Because my teammates also benefit from it. Those guys confidence, it’s hot now.
Walker led six Huskies in double figures. Freshman Jeremy Lamb added 13 points for the Huskies (7-0), Alex Oriakhi, Niels Giffey and Roscoe Smith each had 11 and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel finished with 10.
“I think this is more of what the team has to be,” said Giffey, who hit 3 of 4 shots from 3-point range. “I think that we showed that we can score and we are a deep team, and everybody can score.”
The victory was coach Jim Calhoun’s 830th, moving him into a tie with former Mount St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan for sixth place on the career list.
“There’s categories that you love being in,” Calhoun said. “I love being in the category of guys who coached an awful lot of games and had a fair amount of success at it.”
Travis King led UMBC (0-7) with 14 points, and Chris De La Rosa added 13.
Walker, whose scoring average dropped from 30 points to 29.1, was 9 of 13 from the field. His two free throws to open the game made him the 45th Connecticut player to score 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone in his 77th game.
His triple-double was the eighth in UConn history, and the first since Hasheem Thabeet did it on Jan. 31, 2009, against Providence.
“He’s a terrific basketball player,” Calhoun said. “He’s passing, he’s scoring, he’s doing all kinds of different things, and he is a very good defensive player.
UConn improved to 4-0 against America East teams this season, having already beaten Stony Brook, Vermont and New Hampshire.
UConn held UMBC to just 32 percent shooting, and outrebounded the Retrievers 44-32. The Huskies also hit 12 of 23 3-pointers.
“I thought we got caught standing and not moving on the pass,” UMBC coach Randy Monroe said.
The Huskies didn’t shake UMBC, which lost to Penn 71-59 on Tuesday night, until the second half.
UConn raced to an 11-2 lead. Walker had six points during the run, including the opening free throws that gave him points 999 and 1,000.
But a 9-0 run by UMBC got the Retrievers back into the game, and they cut it to 21-18.
From there, the Huskies went on a 12-2 run, highlighted by an emphatic block by Alex Orikhi and a fast-break layup by Walker.
Walker had 12 points in the half to help UConn take a 44-32 lead.
Connecticut opened the second half on a 13-3 run to stretch the lead to 22 at 57-35. Walker capped the run with a driving double-clutch circus shot that went high above the rim and straight through the net.
His assist on Giffey’s 3-pointer with 7:28 left gave him his 10th assist and gave the Huskies an 83-55 lead.
It was the Huskies’ first meeting with the Retrievers, who came in giving up 84 points per game.
The win improved UConn’s record before January under Calhoun to 205-23 against nonconference competition.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)