Kemba Walker finished with 26 points, leading No. 21 Connecticut to a 97-71 victory against DePaul in the opening contest of the Big East Tournament.
Connecticut, seeded ninth after a 9-9 conference mark, had not won in this tournament since March 10, 2005 against Georgetown, and will next face the eighth-seeded Hoyas in the second round on Wednesday.
The Huskies’ lead was seven with about nine minutes to play, but they pulled away with a 17-3 run. They shot 60 percent and made 29-of-32 free throws in the blowout win.
Brandon Young scored 20 points to lead DePaul (7-24), which was coming off a 107-59 loss to Syracuse on the road in the regular-season finale.
UConn held a 45-28 lead at the break, but the Blue Demons used a press defense to force turnovers and trim their deficit in the second half. Young scored five consecutive points early in the period before Tony Freeland sank two free throws, which had DePaul within 47-37.
— recap provided by Sports Network