The Connecticut Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight in the March Madness bracket Thursday night by defeating No. 2 San Diego State by a score of 74-67. UConn will keep the Big East’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive, as the Huskies and the Marquette Golden Eagles are the conference’s only teams left after beginning the tournament with 11.
UConn took a 36-27 lead into halftime, but the Aztecs chipped away at it throughout the beginning of the second half, at times looking much more alert and motivated than the Huskies. But UConn, as it so often does, turned to Kemba Walker, who stepped up in a big way in the second half. In fact, of the 38 points the Huskies scored in the second half, Walker and Jeremy Lamb scored all but two. Walker scored 36 points overall for UConn, while Lamb had 24 on 9-for-11 shooting.
The Aztecs came screaming back with about four minutes left to play, thanks in part to two big three-pointers by D.J. Gay. But with a minute and a half to go, Alex Oriakhi grabbed a big offensive rebound and popped the ball out to Lamb, who hit a three that gave the Huskies a four-point lead that San Diego State wasn’t able to overcome, much to the delay of the very pro-SDSU crowd in Anaheim.
The Huskies will go on to face the winner of tonight’s contest between Duke and Arizona.
In the other early game, No. 2 Florida is pulling away from No. 3 BYU in overtime. The winner of that game will go on to face the winner of tonight’s contest between No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 8 Butler.