No. 9 Connecticut 76, No. 1 Pittsburgh 74
Records: Connecticut (24-9); Pittsburgh (27-5)
Connecticut advances to Friday’s semifinal round of the BIG EAST Championship, where the Huskies will face the winner of Thursday’s second quarterfinal between St. John’s and Syracuse.
Connecticut is the first No. 9 seed to reach the BIG EAST Championship semifinals since Syracuse won the 2006 title from that spot.
Connecticut will make its 13th appearance in the BIG EAST semifinals and its first trip since 2005. The Huskies are 9-3 all-time in the semifinal round.
Connecticut’s Kemba Walker scored a team-high 24 points, giving him an average of 26.0 points in three games of this year’s BIG EAST Championship.
Kemba Walker has scored 78 points through three games of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship, good for sixth in tournament history. Walker will enter Friday’s semifinal game just six points shy of the tournament record of 84 points, set by Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf in 2009.
Connecticut scored 20 points off 11 Pittsburgh turnovers. Pittsburgh had zero points off turnovers.
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun registered his 31st career win in the BIG EAST Championship, good for third all-time.
Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs scored a career-high 27 points, shooting 10-of-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
Ashton Gibbs’ two highest-scoring games have come at Madison Square Garden. His previous career-high of 26 points was set in a 60-59 loss at St. John’s Feb. 19.
Pittsburgh shot 72.7 percent from 3-point range (8-of-11) – a team record in a BIG EAST Championship game.
This is the second consecutive year in which the top seeded team in the BIG EAST Championship lost its opening game.
Since winning the 2008 BIG EAST title, Pittsburgh has lost three straight games in the tournament. The Panthers fell to 25-27 all-time in BIG EAST tournament play.