Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

November 23, 2013

No. 18 Connecticut holds off Indiana 59-58

NEW YORK — When a Connecticut guard has a game in Madison Square Garden like Shabazz Napier did Friday night, there is only one name he can be compared to: Kemba Walker.

Napier, who scored 27 points and dominated the 18th-ranked Huskies' 59-58 victory over Indiana in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, was more than happy to hear Walker's name come up.

"Of course I do," said Napier, a key reserve on the 2011 national championship team that Walker starred on. "That's my big brother. I try to emulate everything that he does."

While Walker, who plays for the Charlotte Bobcats, had an 11-game run for the ages when he led the Huskies to the Big East title and then the NCAA championship, Napier had a night that will be talked about for a while among the Connecticut faithful.

"The fans love him and he loves the fans," said Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie, a former standout guard for the Huskies himself. "He gave the folks from Storrs a good trip back home."

Napier's driving basket with 1:34 left to play turned out to be the final points of the game.

Indiana turned the ball over twice and Yogi Ferrell missed a jumper in that span. Napier missed a 3-pointer and was called for an offensive foul in the hectic finish that had the crowd at Madison Square Garden standing for the final 90 seconds.

"He is an incredible high level guard," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of the 6-foot-1 Napier. "That is a 12-, 13-year pro. I don't care about size. He creates tremendous separation."

Indiana (5-1) had the last scoring chance. Ferrell missed a jumper with 10 seconds and the rebound rolled out of bounds in front of the Indiana bench off a Connecticut player. The clock showed .2 seconds and after the officials watched the replay, they restored it to .7 seconds.

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