UConn drops WVU in OT

Loss Big East finale for Mountaineers
March 8, 2012 12:00 am

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NEW YORK -- Connecticut kept a great story going. West Virginia closed a chapter of its basketball history.

Shabazz Napier scored 26 points and Jeremy Lamb added 22 to lead the Huskies to their 13th consecutive postseason win, 71-67, in overtime against the Mountaineers Wednesday in the second round of the Big East tournament.

The victory kept alive the hopes of a second consecutive Big East title for the Huskies (20-12), who won a record five games in as many days last year and then went on to win six more in earning the school's third national championship.

"I don't think it can happen again, but then again, I said it could never happen in the first place," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Would we like to give it a shot? Yeah. We're just going to try to play tomorrow's basketball game to take it where it may."

Ninth-seeded Connecticut will play top-seeded and second-ranked Syracuse in the quarterfinals today at Madison Square Garden.

The previous time these schools met in the quarterfinals was 2009 when Syracuse prevailed, 127-117, in six overtimes. They met last year in the semifinals, a 76-71 Connecticut win that went just one overtime.

"We're thinking about we're playing one of the best, in my opinion along with Kentucky, the best team in the country," Calhoun said of Syracuse.

Kevin Jones had 25 points for the eighth-seeded Mountaineers (19-13), who were playing their last game as a member of the Big East. West Virginia leaves the conference for the Big 12 next season.

"It's been a good run. We've enjoyed it, most of it anyway," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said of the school's 17 seasons in the Big East. "There's nothing like coming to the Garden to play in the tournament."

Napier, who fouled out with 2:35 left in overtime, scored all the points in a 9-0 run that brought the Huskies even, 63-63, with 2:10 left in regulation. He capped the run with consecutive steals at midcourt from Gary Browne and went in for layups on both.

Napier had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but after dribbling away near midcourt with a few seconds left, his NBA-length 3-point attempt went off the rim.

Connecticut dominated the overtime as the Mountaineers missed all 11 shots from the field.

"We were down by nine with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left. We dug down deep," Napier said. "Everybody just went out there and played as hard as we can, win or lose."

Other game

• Louisville 61, Seton Hall 55: Peyton Siva had 14 points and Louisville (23-9) reached the quarterfinals and left the Pirates (20-12) to sweat out Selection Sunday. Jordan Theodore scored 17 and Herb Pope had 11 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pirates, who sit tenuously on the NCAA bubble because they lost for the 10th time in their final 15 games.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:08:43

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