New Hampshire vs Connecticut

Walker's 30 helps No. 7 UConn avoid upset to UNH


STORRS, Conn. -- These weren't the Wildcats No. 7 Connecticut was expected to struggle against.

A week after beating Michigan State and routing Kentucky in the Maui Invitational, UConn just got by New Hampshire 62-55 on Tuesday night behind 30 points from Kemba Walker.

Shabazz Napier added 11 points for Connecticut (6-0) which was not ranked before beating the Spartans and the Kentucky Wildcats in Hawaii.

"We had Kemba offensively, and you had very little else," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "It's the first time all year that it was not fun coaching a team that was lackluster."

New Hampshire (4-2) outrebounded UConn 39-38 and had 18 offensive boards.

The Huskies trailed the Wildcats 24-23 at halftime, and didn't take the lead for good until six minutes into the second half, in what was a close game throughout.

UConn went on a late 9-2 run to expand a 49-48 lead to 58-50.

Walker said he expects UConn's five freshmen to learn a lesson from this close call.

"We've got to bring it every night," he said. "That's something that I think they will take out of this. And there are some shots that they've got to take."

Myrick Ferg had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead New Hampshire while James Valladares added 12 points.

The Wildcats took a 14-6 lead, thanks to some poor shot selection by the Huskies, who hit only three of their first 11 attempts from the field.

UConn began turning up the defensive pressure. The Huskies had eight of their 13 blocked shots with seven minutes left in the first half, but still trailed 16-14.

New Hampshire was able to stay in front by outrebounding the Huskies 25-19 in the first half, grabbing nine offensive boards.

"We go after the basketball," New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion said. "It's a real emphasis of our program, to play hard and get on the glass."

Valladares hit five of his six first-half shots, including a 3-pointer that gave New Hampshire a 24-21 lead.

But Walker's jump shot at the halftime buzzer gave him 15 points and pulled UConn within a point.

The Huskies took their first lead on a layup by Walker 12 seconds into the second half, but didn't lead for good until Napier hit a spinning layup and a foul shot with 14:08 to go to make it 35-34, part of a 12-2 UConn run.

New Hampshire did not go away. Trailing 49-44, Myrick hit the first of two free throws, and Tyrone Conloy hit a 3-pointer after the Wildcats rebounded the second free throw, and another missed shot.

"We didn't play the way we played in Maui," Nappier said. "We just showed how immature we are."

Walker, who leads the nation in scoring, is averaging 30 points per game, and needs two more to reach 1,000 for his career.

The Huskies came into the season picked by the Big East coaches to finish 10th in the conference.

They opened some eyes when they beat Wichita State, then-No. 2 Michigan State and then-No. 8 Kentucky in Hawaii.

Since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989, the only more impressive entrance was Kansas' jump to No. 4 after beating No. 2 LSU, No. 1 UNLV and No. 25 St. John's on the way to winning the 1989 Preseason NIT.

"Maybe we were a little big-headed," said Alex Oriakhi, who had seven points and 10 rebounds. "Hopefully, this game brings us back down to reality to show us we're not that good and we still have a lot to work on."

UConn hasn't lost a game in Storrs before January in 97 games, since falling 91-85 to Holy Cross in December 1973.

With the victory, Connecticut improved to 113-4 against non-conference opponents from New England in the Calhoun era.

Connecticut assistant coach Kevin Ollie made his bench debut for the Huskies. He had been sidelined since suffering an eye injury on Nov. 10, two days before the Huskies' opener, when a workout band snapped back into his face.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Kemba Walker, the nation's leading scorer, does his part to make sure UConn doesn't lose what it gained in Maui.  (AP)
Kemba Walker, the nation's leading scorer, does his part to make sure UConn doesn't lose what it gained in Maui. (AP)
New Hampshire (4-2)243155
Connecticut #7 (6-0) «233962
NH:F. Myrick 19 Pts
NH:D. Diliegro 10 Reb
NH:T. Conley 3 Ast
CT:K. Walker 30 Pts
CT:A. Oriakhi 10 Reb
CT:D. Beverly 2 Ast

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ConnecticutNew Hampshire
Kemba Walker
Ferg Myrick
New Hampshire Wildcats
T. Conley, G353-120-04348
F. Myrick, F357-172-380219
D. Diliegro, C323-131-110047
C. Rhoads, G281-80-04222
B. Benson, F182-30-26145
J. Valladares, F-C245-70-031112
J. Bronner, G151-40-01242
K. Nyanguila, F70-00-00100
D. Buckley, G-F50-00-00000
S. Morris, G10-00-00010
A. Abreu, GDid Not Play
R. Herrion, GDid Not Play
P. Konan, FDid Not Play
C. Matagrano, CDid Not Play
Totals 22-643-636102255
Connecticut Huskies
K. Walker, G397-1614-1652130
A. Oriakhi, F-C253-61-210037
N. Giffey, G-F230-44-64024
J. Lamb, G-F91-30-03112
C. Okwandu, C80-20-02000
S. Napier, G274-102-200111
J. Coombs-McDaniel, F251-30-06102
R. Smith, F210-20-02010
T. Olander, F152-30-04114
D. Beverly, G81-10-01212
K. Bailey, GDid Not Play
M. Bradley, F-CDid Not Play
B. Stewart, FDid Not Play
Totals 19-5021-263771162
America East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
New Hamp.3-17-11297
Stony Brook2-27-11210
UMass Lowell0-46-11334

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Seton Hall4-215-413
St. Johns0-710-970
Other games
BU 57 Final
Kentucky 91
CORN 58 Final
Syracuse 78
M. Tenn. 56 Final
Tenn 86
Ohio St 58 Final
Florida St 44
Indiana St 72 Final
ND 81
GTOWN 111 Final
Missouri 102
NC 67 Final
Illinois 79
LB St 75 Final
Wash 102