The Naismith Player of the Year candidate erupted for 36 points and carried the Huskies past the Aztecs 74-67 and into the West Region final. In the process, he ended a magical run for the Aztecs.
"When your season comes to a screeching halt, it hurts," said Fisher. "For our team this year, for what they accomplished, it hurts exponentially more."
Walker used his quickness and versatility to spark two key runs in the game. The first came during the first half when he scored eight straight points as part of a 19-5 run that turned a 22-17 deficit into a 36-27 lead at intermission.
The second run came in a wild second half after the Aztecs had rallied to take the lead, showing they would not go down easy.
In front of a decidedly pro-SDSU crowd of 17,890, the Aztecs, the #2 seed in the West, started the second half on a 16-6 run to take the lead at 43-42 on a pair of D.J. Gay free throws. After not scoring in the first half, Aztecs' team captain and point guard D.J. Gay came out of the locker room firing, sinking a three-pointer. As each subsequent basket went in for the Aztecs, the crowd grew louder and louder.
"I felt like there was a need for me to get more aggressive offensively," Gay said. "There was nothing to lose, but a lot to gain."
SDSU boosted its lead to 53-49 and then as the teams went to the benches after a UConn timeout, Aztecs' freshman guard Jamaal Frankling collided with Walker who went down to the ground. Franklin was called for a technical foul, and Walker went to the free throw line.
He made the two free throws and went on to score 10 straight UConn points with an assortment of jump shots, driving lay-ups and three-pointers to put the third-seeded Huskies ahead 65-56.
"My teammates want me to take those shots," Walker said. "Everybody on the team, the coaching staff, they want me to take those shots. So, as long as they have the confidence in me to take it, I'm going to take it with confidence." Once again, the Aztecs refused to stay down. Gay hit two three-pointers to spark an 8-0 run and pull the Aztecs back within one at 65-64, but the Aztecs' poor shooting from long range caught up with them. SDSU shot just 7-of-22 from three-point range and missed four of their last five three pointers. They also missed seven of their 13 free throws.
While the Aztecs missed, UConn freshman Jeremy Lamb hit. Playing Robin to Walker's Batman, Lamb hit a three-pointer to give the Huskies a 68-64 lead, and then sealed the win with two slam dunks. Lamb finished with 24 points and combined with Walker to score 60 of the Huskies' 74 points.
"I just think that both teams fed off each other," Gay said. "When one team threw a punch, the other team threw a punch. So it was going back and forth.
The Aztecs (34-3) ended the best season in school history knowing their only losses were to the two teams with two of the best players in the country: UConn and BYU (Jimmer Fredette) twice.
In his last game as an Aztec, White scored 14 points. Fellow senior Malcolm Thomas (Crawford HS) scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds and sophomore Kawhi Leonard scored 12 points and had nine rebounds.
Many consider Leonard to be a high draft pick in the NBA lottery if he chooses to leave school early. He said he has not yet decided and did not say when he would make that decision.
The Aztecs set a school record for wins this season and also won an NCAA Tournament game at the Division I level for the first time in school history.
The Aztecs will lose four seniors: Gay, White, Thomas and Mehdi Cheriet, and possibly five, if Brian Carlwell is not granted a medical redshirt. Gay leaves as the Aztecs all-time leader in games played (140). White leaves as the all-time leader in field goal percentage and in games started.
UConn (29-9) will play Arizona after the Wildcats beat Duke 93-77.