Archive for Thursday, March 3, 2005

Calhoun earns 700th victory

March 3, 2005

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— Moments after Connecticut beat Georgetown, 83-64, on Wednesday night, Huskies coach Jim Calhoun walked the length of the court and gave a thumbs up to the packed student section at Gampel Pavilion.

They roared back. The feeling definitely was mutual.

In Storrs, they're crazy about the man who turned a decent regional program into a national power during the past 19 years. He's given them two NCAA titles and Wednesday, they had something else to celebrate -- his 700th win.

"This is a very special night for Connecticut. It's a special night for me and it's a very special night for our players," Calhoun said. "A coach is only a reflection of so many assistants and great players."

Some of his former players who are now NBA stars -- Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton and Emeka Okafor -- congratulated Calhoun in a video tribute after the win. His current players did their part, too.

Charlie Villanueva scored 24 points, and freshman Rudy Gay added a career-high 20 to lead the 15th-ranked Huskies over Georgetown.

Calhoun became one of seven active Division One coaches with 700 wins. The sellout crowd of 10,167 stood for the closing seconds, chanting "700" and wildly waving placards printed with the number. The win also moved UConn into a first-place tie with Boston College in the Big East.

"We were definitely focused and pumped up for this game," Villanueva said. "We wanted to do this for coach and we did."

The Huskies (20-6, 12-3) made sure they put this one away early, well ahead of the celebration. The Huskies have been one of the hottest teams in the conference down the stretch, winning their last eight Big East games.

No. 3 Kentucky 73, Tennessee 61

Lexington, Ky. -- Senior forward Chuck Hayes, playing his last home game for Kentucky, scored nine of his 13 points in the final 51/2 minutes. Patrick Sparks scored 14 points -- all in the first half -- for the Wildcats (23-3, 14-1), who already had clinched the Southeastern Conference title. Tennessee (12-16, 5-10) hung with the Wildcats for most of the game and were tied 55-55 with 8:25 left after Chris Lofton, who had 19 points, hit his fifth three-pointer. But Tennessee didn't score again until 1:53 remained.

No. 4 Wake Forest 98, Georgia Tech 91

Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Vytas Danelius had 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Demon Deacons (25-4, 12-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from 11 points down in the second half to pull out the win and finish the season 16-0 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Jarrett Jack had 23 points for Georgia Tech (16-10, 7-8), which had won two of the last three meetings with Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons attempted 46 free throws in the game, while Georgia Tech took just 17.

No. 14 Michigan State 69, Northwestern 58

Evanston, Ill. -- Maurice Ager scored 20 points, including a clutch three-pointer with 3:33 to play that curtailed a Northwestern comeback that cut an 18-point deficit to five. Alan Anderson led Michigan State (21-5, 12-3 Big Ten) with 22 points, hitting six straight free throws in the final 1:24 to seal the victory.

No. 19 Villanova 79, Seton Hall 58

Villanova, Pa. -- Randy Foye scored a career-high 27 points, and Curtis Sumpter added 19 for the Wildcats (20-6, 10-5 Big East), who won 20 games for the first time since 1999-2000. Kelly Whitney had 12 points for Seton Hall (11-15, 3-12), which dropped to 0-8 against ranked teams.

No. 21 'Bama 94, Auburn 53

Tuscaloosa, Ala. -- Earnest Shelton and Kennedy Winston each scored 24 points as Alabama (22-6, 11-4 Southeaster Conference) ended a two-game losing streak.

No. 22 Cincy 77, Tulane 56

Cincinnati -- Jihad Muhammad scored a career-high 24 points, including six three-pointers, and Jason Maxiell added 18 points for the Bearcats (23-6, 11-4 Conference USA). Taylor Rochestie had 14 points for the Green Wave (9-17, 3-12), who have lost a season-high five in a row, all by double digits.

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