Kemba's Conquest...with some help from a Lamb - 2011

April 4, 2011 - Championship Monday in Houston...for the second straight year, the Butler Bulldogs were ready to claim a National Championship. A year ago in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs were a Gordon Heywood midcourt back rim away from stunning Duke..So they come back a season later grinding away en route to it's second straight championship game.

The UConn Huskies had won five games in 5 days and survived some close NCAA Tournament games, including their Final Four win over Kentucky....So game on at NRG Stadium..And well, it wasn't pretty...The first half was a slog at best..UConn made 9 field goals, Butler 6..14-0 Huskies in the paint, 8-0 Bulldogs off Turnovers...The difference ? 5 of the 6 Butler field goals were three pointers...And they owned a 22-19 halftime lead. Kemba Walker 3/11 7pts and 5reb...but the Huskies didn't score over the final 6:05 of the half while Shelvin Mack made two threes over that span to take the halftime lead.

Awaken Jeremy Lamb....The freshman who played a huge role in getting the Huskies to the Title game came to life...a pair of free throws and a Walker jumper got the Huskies within two at 25-23...Then it was Jeremy's turn..9 points, starting with a second chance three that started a 19-6 run that gave the UConn a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Alex Oriachi had a couple of hoops and Walker was Walker as the Huskies slowly pulled away while putting the grip on the Bulldogs. Seven of eight from the line and UConn would win one of the lowest scoring title games ever at 53-41.

Walker the Final Four MOP, finished with 16p-9, Lamb 12p-7r, Oriachi 11p-11r-4b and Roscoe Smith had 4 boards and 4 blocks....Butler shot a woeful 19% in the title game. Nine of their 12 field goals were threes as the UConn interior defense was just too tough...Ten blocks overall....

The next day in Storrs at a packed Gampel Pavilion, the team was welcomed home with one more surprise...All American Kemba Walker joined the greats of UConn History when his plaque was unveiled on the Huskies of Honor..A magical end to an amazing run.....

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