Despite injuries to his wrist and hip, Kemba Walker, once again proved to be the difference in the game, scoring 33 points and leading the Huskies to a 69-58 win over Cincinnati in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Unlike Thursday's matchup against Bucknell where Walker spent the first half setting up his teammates, he scored early and often versus Cincy and had 15 points by the half.
These two teams last met on Feb. 27 and it was freshman Jeremy Lamb's unofficial coming out party. The Huskies won 67-59 and Lamb scored 17 points. In his last seven games Lamb has gone for 19, 11, 17, 11, 13, 16 and 14 against the Bearcats Saturday night.
"We're happy as heck with this young group led by (Kemba Walker) the best player in America right there," coach Jim Calhoun said after the game. "I think he proved it again tonight. [Cincinnati] did a great job to start the second half -- they pulled the zone up, we got confused a little bit. We called a timeout, made a few adjustments, and then the kids took over … and I thought we played great, great defense."
As for Walker showing signs of mortality against the Bearcats, Calhoun offered this: "We played seven games in 12 days. [Kemba] says he could play every single day and I believe him."
Even after watching Walker wince and grimace his way through the final 30 minutes -- all while making clutch shots, including 14 for 14 from the line -- it's hard not to believe anything he might say about the state of his game.
"I'm always getting hurt," Walker said on the court after the game. "It's nothing new. I just want to win so bad that I [endure the pain] until the end of the game."
And now Walker has a few days to get healthy because the Huskies are headed to Anaheim to face No. 2 San Diego State in the Sweet 16.
"I'm extremely happy because we're in a great situation," added Walker. "A lot of people at the beginning of the season didn't think that we would be this far and, you know, we're just shocking the world."
Not too shabby for a team that began the 2010-2011 season unranked.