Purdue-UConn: Hasheem Thabeet, Huskies Take Down Boilers

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 26:  Center Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Connenticut Huskies grabs a rebound against the Purdue Boilermakers in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Phoenix Stadium on March 26, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz.—The Connecticut Huskies love playing in Arizona and Thursday night was no different as the top seed in the West region topped the No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers 72-60 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Hasheem Thabeet scored 15 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and added four blocks as the Huskies star recorded his 18th double-double of the season.

The Huskies (30-4) reached their third straight West regional final. The two previous times UConn played in this region, it went on to win the 1999 and 2004 national championships.

UConn led 14-3 to open the game, but went cold and only led 30-25 at the break. Thabeet took it upon himself to take the game over. He scored the first eight points for the Huskies in the second half.

UConn went on an 8-0 run capped off by a Thabeet block and A.J. Price layup to advance the lead to 11. The Boilers answered with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 44-40 with just over 11 minutes to play.

UConn used a 13-5 run over the next five minutes to seal the victory and a slot in the West title game.

Craig Austrie led the Huskies in scoring with 17 points and Stanley Robinson had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards, helping the Huskies advance to their fourth regional title game since 2002.

They play the Missouri Tigers on Saturday in Glendale.