UConn Gains Some Momentum

The Georgetown senior Austin Freeman, the Big East preseason player of the year, chewed his mouth guard at halftime. It curled up his left cheek as he took a few shots with his teammates before he took a seat on the bench alone, still chewing. NCAA

Perhaps he knew there was only so much he could do. Without the senior point guard Chris Wright, out since breaking a bone in his left hand Feb. 23, the eighth-seeded Hoyas continued to be perplexed on offense, dropping their fourth straight game. Ninth-seeded Connecticut moved on to the Big East Conference tournament quarterfinals with a 79-62 victory Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The Huskies (23-9) continued to level their recent descent, winning twice in two days after having lost four of five to close the regular season. The electrifying guard Kemba Walker, who had 26 points against DePaul on Tuesday, scored 28 Wednesday.

The Hoyas (21-10) had no answer for Walker’s quickness, which propelled him to a team-high six rebounds, nor for the Huskies’ athleticism and length. Jamal Coombs-McDaniel scored 12 points, and Jeremy Lamb had 11. Alex Oriakhi, who was back in the starting lineup after snatching 19 rebounds off the bench in the first round, had 5 points and 5 rebounds.

Connecticut faces top-seeded Pittsburgh at noon Thursday. Connecticut fell, 78-63, at Pittsburgh in December.

Georgetown headed home awaiting its draw in the N.C.A.A. tournament and hoping that Wright’s hand will heal in the next week. He has practiced. The Hoyas will likewise be wishing that the N.C.A.A. tournament selection committee takes his possible return into account when handing out seeds.

Georgetown was ranked as high as ninth in the country this season, but has not been able to find a rhythm without Wright. The Hoyas have not won since Wright, who had started 93 consecutive games and was averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 assists this season, was sidelined.

They had not even topped 51 points without Wright until Wednesday, when they fell behind, 42-30, at halftime. Freeman scored 14 of those 30, and finished with 20. Jason Clark scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half.

Posted by: nytimes.com


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