Pearl return spoiled by UConn
Posted: Monday, January 24, 2011 5:07 pm
By: By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press Writer
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s freshmen might be ready to take some of the burden off star guard Kemba Walker.
Walker scored a season-low 16 points but that was enough to help the No. 8 Huskies beat Tennessee 72-61 on Saturday, spoiling coach Bruce Pearl’s brief return to the Volunteers’ bench.
Jeremy Lamb also had 16 points and fellow freshman Roscoe Smith added 12, hitting four of five 3-pointers for UConn (16-2). Sophomore center Alex Oriakhi had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double and fourth in his last five games.
UConn shot 9-of-19 from 3-point range.
Melvin Goins had 15 points and Scotty Hopson added 13 for Tennessee (12-7), which had Pearl on the sideline for the first time since beating Memphis on Jan. 5.
The coach is in the middle of serving an eight-game Southeastern Conference suspension for lying to NCAA investigators, but was allowed to coach Saturday’s non-conference game against the Huskies.
“For me, it was good to get back and it was fun to be in the game for a while,” Pearl said. “It was fun to have some affect on the game.”
Tennessee came into the game undefeated against ranked opponents.
The Vols beat Big East members Villanova and Pittsburgh this season, and topped Memphis.
UConn is awaiting a final decision on its own recruiting case. The school has acknowledged violations stemming from the recruitment of former player Nate Miles, but denied an allegation that Calhoun failed to foster an atmosphere of compliance.
Tennessee came in 6-1 against the Big East under Pearl, with his lone loss coming against Louisville in the 2008 NCAA tournament.
Assistant coach Tony Jones will be back on the bench for Tennessee on Wednesday when the Volunteers host LSU.
“It’s a very serious penalty,” Pearl said. “Eight league games? One league game can be the difference between seedings or even making the tournament. It’s significant. It’s fortunate that I’m suspended for those games, but not for preparation or for practice.”