NEW YORK (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 26 points and Connecticut won a Big East tournament game for the first time in six years, beating DePaul 97-71 on Tuesday in the opener of a conference showcase loaded with NCAA contenders.

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Jeremy Lamb, playing on a sore knee, had 17 of his 19 points in the first half for the 21st-ranked Huskies (22-9), who got back on track after losing four of their final five regular-season games. No. 9 seed UConn advanced to play Wednesday against No. 22 Georgetown, the No. 8 seed at Madison Square Garden.

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The Huskies had lost six straight Big East tournament games since beating Georgetown in the 2005 quarterfinals, a surprising streak of futility for a school that has won two national championships and six Big East tourney titles under Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)