With the game tied at 74, Kemba Walker took Pitt center Gary McGhee off the dribble and hit a step-back 18-foot jump shot as time expired to down the Pitt Panthers 76-74. And with that; and the 2011 Big East Tournament just got real.
Pitt had tied the game at 74 on a three pointer from Ashton Gibbs, his sixth of the afternoon, with about 50 seconds left. Walker missed a floater in the lane shortly thereafter, but a huge offensive rebound from Jamaal Coombs-McDaniel with 18 seconds left gave UConn opportunity to take the final shot.
I think everyone in the building and watching on television knew that the ball was going to Kemba Walker, and yet, he got a wide open look for a game winner. He got a screen from Coombs-McDaniel early in the possession and Pitt switched, meaning McGhee had the unfortunate task of guarding Walker. Kemba took him off the dribble, and stepped-back (in reality, it was closer to a leap. He probably moved about five feet across the lane on the step) and got a great look at an 18-footer for the game. He did not disappoint. His shot splashed through the net as time expired.
The second half of the game was about as entertaining of a game as they come. It went back and forth and back and forth, but to be honest, UConn just looked like they wanted it a little bit more. They out-rebounded and outhustled the Panthers, and they seemed to be first to every loose ball. They now advance to face the winner of the next game, Syracuse vs. St. John's. We'll see if this emotional win is too much for them to get over in time to play tomorrow. We'll also keep you updated on that game here.