Walker’s 42 leads Connecticut over Vermont 89-73
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)—Kemba Walker scored a career-high 42 points as Connecticut beat Vermont 89-73 Wednesday night in a final tune-up before heading to Hawaii and the Maui Invitational.
Walker, whose previous career best was 29, hit 15 of 24 shots, including four 3-pointers, and pulled down eight rebounds. His 42 points tied Cliff Robinson’s record for a UConn game played in Hartford.
Freshman Roscoe Smith added 15 points and Alex Oriakhi had 11 for the Huskies (2-0), who trailed by three points at halftime.
Evan Fjeld had a career-high 26 points for Vermont (1-1) and Matt Glass added 24 points, also a career best.
Coach Jim Calhoun improved his record to 112-4 at Connecticut against nonconference opponents from New England.
Cliff Robinson scored his 42 in what was then the Hartford Civic Center against Hartford in 1987. Bill Corley holds the all-time UConn record with 51 points in a game played on campus against New Hampshire in 1968.
UConn trailed for a good part of the game, before a 14-4 run turned a 43-43 tie into a 56-47 Huskies lead. Walker passed his previous career high of 29 midway through that run.
His 3-pointer with 8 minutes left made it 71-55, part of an 11-1 run that put the game away.
The Huskies led by as many a 20.
Vermont jumped out to a 9-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Glass, who surpasssed his career high with 15 points in the first half. But Walker kept the Huskies in the game, scoring seven of their first nine points, and cutting the deficit to 11-9 at the first media timeout. He had 21 at the break.
Fjeld hit four of his first five shots and Glass hit three 3-pointers to keep Vermont in front. Glass’ layup with just over 4 minutes left in the half gave the Catamounts a 30-29 lead, and they led 36-33 at halftime.
Vermont, which beat Rutgers last season, is now 11-67 against the Big East.
The Catamounts, who were coming off an 80-76 win at Siena on Saturday night, have not opened a season 2-0 since 2002.
UConn improved its record against Vermont to 46-8. The Huskies and Catamounts haven’t played since the first round of the 2004 NCAA tournament, a meeting the Huskies won 70-53 on their way to the team’s second national championship.
UConn doesn’t play another home game until Nov. 30. The Huskies will open the Maui tournament with a game against Wichita State on Nov. 22.