Kemba Walker scored 19 points as No. 9 seed Connecticut upset No. 3 seed Louisville, 69-66, in the 2011 Big East Tournament championship game on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
UConn (26-9) became the first team ever to win five games in five days to win the Big East Tournament title game, and in doing so clinched the Big East's auto bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Connecticut outscored Louisville, 38-32, in the first half. The Cardinals (25-9) outscored the Huskies 34-31 in the second half, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback.
Preston Knowles' jumper with 1:57 left put Louisville up 64-63, but a layup from Jeremy Lamb with 33 ticks remaining gave UConn a 65-64 lead. The Cardinals had a chance to regain the lead, but UConn's Shabazz Napier stole the ball from Mike Marra with 23 seconds to go, forcing Knowles to commit a foul with 16 seconds left.
Walker made both free throws to build Connecticut's lead to 67-64. Knowles missed a potential game-tying three with nine seconds remaining, but Mike Marra got the rebound at the top of the key and attempted a three, but was fouled by Walker with four seconds to go.
Marra made the first free throw, but missed the second. Instead of intentionally missing the final free throw, Marra sank it to trim UConn's lead to 67-66. Marra committed a foul on Napier on the inbound pass, and he made both to put the Huskies up 69-66.
Louisville pushed the ball up court and found Knowles, who missed a game-winning three from the corner with one second left, preserving the game for Connecticut.
Lamb scored 13 points and Roscoe Smith added 12 points for UConn, which shot 41.8% from the field. Alex Oriakhi had 10 points and Napier added five points off the bench for the Huskies.
Knowles finished with 18 points to pace Louisville, which was held to 44.8% shooting. Peyton Siva had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Terrence Jennings added 11 points and six rebounds for the Cardinals.
Tuesday, March 8 - First Round (ESPN2/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 16 DePaul, 97-71
No. 13 Rutgers def. No. 12 Seton Hall, 76-70
No. 15 USF def. No. 10 Villanova, 70-69
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 14 Providence, 87-66
Wednesday, March 9 - Second Round (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 8 Georgetown, 79-62
No. 5 St. John's def. No. 13 Rutgers, 65-63
No. 7 Cincinnati def. No. 15 USF, 87-61
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 6 West Virginia, 67-61
Thursday, March 10 - Quarterfinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 1 Pittsburgh, 76-74
No. 4 Syracuse def. No. 5 St. John's, 79-73
No. 2 Notre Dame def. No. 7 Cincinnati, 89-51
No. 3 Louisville def. No. 11 Marquette, 81-56
Friday, March 11 - Semifinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 4 Syracuse, 76-71 (OT)
No. 3 Louisville def. No. 2 Notre Dame, 83-77 (OT)
Saturday, March 12 - Championship (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 3 Louisville, 69-66