banner

College Basketball

more stats

54
Final 12Score
Kentucky312354
18  Connecticut352560
Preview | Lineup | Wrap | Box
60


NCAA Game Summary - Kentucky vs. Connecticut



(Monday, April 7th)

Final Score: Connecticut 60, Kentucky 54

Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Ollie said he knew his second team at Connecticut was destined for great things.

A year after they were banned from the postseason, and a month after they lost to a conference rival by 33 points, Shabazz Napier and the rest of the Huskies proved their coach right.

Napier scored 22 points and Connecticut finished an improbable run through the NCAA Tournament by beating Kentucky 60-54 on Monday night to win the fourth national title in program history, all in the last 16 years.

The Huskies, the first No. 7 seed ever to play in the national final, never trailed and survived a 19-5 Kentucky run spanning the first and second half.

They persevered the way they did through last season's ban over academics and that March 8 loss at Louisville.

A run through the American Athletic Conference Tournament ended in another loss to the Cardinals and the slight of being a popular upset pick in their NCAA opener against Saint Joseph's in the East Region.

UConn survived that game in overtime on Napier's back and beat Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State and No. 1 overall seed Florida, snapping the Gators' 30- game winning streak in the Final Four on Saturday night.

The run ended with a convincing victory over the preseason No. 1 Wildcats, whose roller-coaster ride powered by a freshman class stacked with NBA talent ended with a walk off the court as the Huskies (32-8) celebrated.

"We always did it together," Ollie said during the post-game celebration at the center of cavernous AT&T Stadium. "We won as a group."

James Young had 20 points to lead Kentucky (29-11) and leading scorer Julius Randle, a fellow freshman, contributed 10.

The Wildcats, who came out of the Midwest Region as a No. 8 seed, trailed 30-15 with six minutes left in the first half.

"The way we started the game probably cost us the game," said Kentucky coach John Calipari, who was trying to lead the Wildcats to their second title in three years and ninth overall.

"Someone asked why we started that way. Duh, they're freshmen."

Ryan Boatright, who stayed in the game despite rolling his left ankle late in the second half, added 14 points for the Huskies and Niels Giffey scored 10.

Boatright scored eight points in the first 8:16 of the game to guide UConn's early run and later sat out the last 4:16 of the first half after picking up his second foul. When the final buzzer sounded, he leapt in celebration, apparently feeling no pain from his rolled ankle.

But it was Napier who carried the Huskies most of the way. During an off-night on the offensive end against Florida, the American Athletic Conference player of the year contributed in other ways.

The senior guard was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

"I want to get everyone's attention," Napier screamed into a microphone during the post-game celebration. "Ladies and gentlemen, you're looking at the hungry Huskies. This is what happens when you ban us!"

Later, Napier said he was happy to be in the position to say that.

"We're hungry and when you prevent us going to the postseason and it wasn't our fault, we worked from that day on," said Napier. "Coach Ollie told us it was a two-year plan and we believed."

Kentucky also missed last year's tournament after winning the title in 2012 with future No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, but not because of a ban. The Wildcats landed in the NIT after a down regular season and were dealt a first- round loss by Robert Morris.

Against UConn, they missed 11 of their 24 free-throw attempts and shot just 39.1 percent -- including 33.3 percent in the second half. The Huskies, who went 11-2 in their last 13 games, shot 41.5 percent -- just 32 percent after halftime.

Twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, also freshmen, combined to score 15 points for Kentucky. Aaron Harrison hit 3-pointers in the final seconds to beat Michigan in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin in the Final Four on Saturday.

Monday, he opened the second half with a 3 to cap Kentucky's 19-5 run, drawing the Wildcats within one. Kentucky was that close several more times.

Later, Giffey knocked down a 3 from the left corner to spark a 7-0 run that gave the Huskies a nine-point lead at 48-39 with 11 minutes left.Young stopped the run with a driving, one-handed dunk over 7-foot UConn center Amida Brimah, starting an 8-0 Wildcats burst to get them within one again.

Napier responded with a 3-pointer at the other end and Kentucky was never that close again. With 1:49 left, Giffey missed a shot and Lasan Kromah grabbed the offensive rebound, kicking it back out to Napier at the point as he fell out of bounds. UConn didn't get points out of it, but the rebound drained 27 ticks off the clock with Kentucky down six.

"They got every 50-50 ball," said Calipari. "They had more energy. We hung in there, gave ourselves a chance and made the buckets after the half. I thought we were going to win the game.

"(My players) needed more from me. We're talking all freshmen out there. I wish I had more for them."

DeAndre Daniels, the junior Huskies forward who has emerged as an offensive star in the tournament, scored just eight points but had an early highlight that sparked his team when he drove the baseline with his left hand and dunked with his right.

At the other end, UConn's rigid defense forced three Kentucky turnovers in the first five minutes. Napier knocked down a 3 after the third one and Boatright spun off a defender for a reverse layup to give the Huskies a 17-8 advantage.

The UConn lead reached 12 on Napier's 3 from the high right side and ballooned to 15 on Giffey's free throws several minutes later.

After Aaron Harrison's steal and dunk pulled Kentucky within 10, Napier hit his third 3-pointer from several feet behind the arc. But Young and Andrew Harrison followed with consecutive 3s for the Wildcats, cutting their deficit to seven. Randle capped a 16-5 run with a putback in the final seconds to get Kentucky within 35-31 at halftime.

Game Notes

Calipari denied a report that he would take a job as head coach of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers ... Ollie was the first person other than Jim Calhoun to coach UConn in an NCAA Tournament game since 1979. Calhoun stepped aside before last season because of health problems ... Wildcats 7-foot sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein remained out after spraining his ankle against Louisville ... UConn has never lost the title game ... Kentucky fell to 8-4 in the national final ... It was the lowest-seeded national final since the NCAA began using seeds in the 1979 tournament ... The last meeting between the teams was UConn's win in the 2011 Final Four on the way to the national title.

04/08 00:43:55 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Today at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • Big Ten: Michigan at Michigan State

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST
 
Final
SFG 2
KAN 3
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
ORL 92
DAL 117
Final
TOR 83
NYK 80
Final
MEM 98
MIA 104
Final
CHI 112
MIN 113
Final
HOU 96
SAN 87
Final
UTA 100
PHO 105
Final
LAL 92
SAC 93
Final
GSW 119
DEN 112
Final
LAC 89
POR 99
Final
CIN 34
SFLA 17
Final
SALABAMA 27
TROY 13
Final
BSU 55
BYU 30
Final
CAL 41
OREG 59
 
12:00pm Today
WISC
MD
12:00pm Today
SMU
MEM
12:00pm Today
ILL
MINN
12:00pm Today
RICE
UNT
12:00pm Today
NEB
RUTG
12:00pm Today
KST
TEX
12:00pm Today
ARK
UAB
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
NILL
1:00pm Today
NAVY
SJST
2:00pm Today
BST
AKR
2:00pm Today
GASTATE
GASO
2:00pm Today
TOL
UMASS
2:00pm Today
WMICH
OHIO
2:00pm Today
COL
UCLA
2:30pm Today
UMO
KSU
3:30pm Today
WAKE
BC
3:30pm Today
BUF
CMICH
3:30pm Today
MARS
FATL
3:30pm Today
PITT
GT
3:30pm Today
SMISS
LATU
3:30pm Today
MSU
MICH
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
3:30pm Today
STAN
ORST
3:30pm Today
TCU
TTU
3:30pm Today
OKST
WVU
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
NJD 2
DAL 3
Final
WIN 2
TAM 4
Final
COL 7
VAN 3
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
Final
ANA 4
CLB 1
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
 
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST