Purdue Basketball

Purdue-UConn: Hasheem Thabeet, Huskies Take Down Boilers

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)
Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

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.

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