Connecticut opened the first round of the Big East Tournament in familiar fashion Tuesday afternoon, downing No. 16 DePaul to move on to the second round Wednesday to play the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers. The game will tip-off at noon on ESPN and ESPN3D.
In their 81-67 win over the Blue Demons, the Huskies looked much more like the team that rode a late-season surge that began with a conference tourney title and ended with an NCAA Tournament championship than the one that ended the 2012 regular season with a 19-11 overall record. UConn enjoyed a well-rounded effort against DePaul, shooting 53.4 percent from the field while holding the Blue Demons to just 32.4 percent.
Sophomore guard/forward Jeremy Lamb led all scorers with 25 points while also adding five rebounds and four assists. Freshman guard Ryan Boatright added 19 points, seven assits and five rebounds, while freshman center Andre Drummond scored 12 points. Junior forward/center Alex Oriakhi contributed nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks of his own.
West Virginia, meanwhile, enters the Big East Tournament having earned a first-round bye following a 9-9 conference season (19-12 overall). The Mountaineers enter Wednesday's game on a two-game winning streak with victories over DePaul and South Florida.
WVU will be powered by a trio of players who scored in double figures this season. Senior forward Kevin Jones led the team in scoring with 20.0 points and 11.2 rebounds, while senior guard Darryl Bryant averaged 17.1 points per game and junior forward Deniz Kilicli scored 10.9.
The winner of Wednesday's game will play the No. 1 Syracuse Orange Thursday at noon on ESPN and ESPN3D.