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NCAA Game Summary - Connecticut vs. Florida



(Saturday, April 5th)

Final Score: Connecticut 63, Florida 53

Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Connecticut shook out of its shooting funk and Florida didn't. Connecticut shared the ball and Florida didn't.

The Huskies will play for the national championship and Florida won't.

DeAndre Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Shabazz Napier scored just 12 but contributed in other ways on a night when his offensive game took a long time to warm up, and Connecticut climbed out of an early hole Saturday night to beat Florida 63-53 and advance to the NCAA title game.

The Huskies, after trailing 16-4, led for the last 22:20 of the game to snap Florida's school-record 30-game winning streak, which began after the Gators lost to UConn on Napier's buzzer-beater all the way back on Dec. 2.

Napier and the Huskies will play for their second title in four years against Kentucky on Monday night. The Wildcats edged Wisconsin 74-73 in Saturday's second game at AT&T Stadium.

Ryan Boatright scored 13 points and Niels Giffey added 11 for UConn (31-8), which made it through the East Region as a No. 7 seed and is now just one win away from its fourth national title in 16 years.

"We feel like we have been doubted the whole season," said Daniels. "But that's what drives us. ... When people say that, we like to go out and try to prove people wrong and let them know that UConn's back on top."

Patric Young scored 19 points and Casey Prather had 15 to lead Florida (36-3), the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, while SEC player of the year Scottie Wilbekin scored just four points.

The three seniors played their last game together.

"I can't really explain how I feel because it just hasn't hit me ... that we're not going to be together in the same way again," said Young. "Who knows where we're going to be in a couple of months.

"This team was so special, something I'm never going to forget for all my life. We accomplished a lot ... so I'm just really going to cherish everything that we had this year and it's going to be something I'll never forget."

The Gators had three assists on each of their first two baskets during a 7-0 run to open the game and didn't get another one until there was just 4:09 left in the game.

They stretched their lead to 16-4 before a five-minute scoring drought let the Huskies end the first half on a 21-6 run.

"We got off to a good start because our defense was good," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who led the Gators to NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007. "I thought once they got their defense set, we had a hard time handling their pressure."

UConn didn't score until five minutes into the game, after Daniels sliced into the lane.

Napier went even longer. The American Athletic Conference player of the year didn't take a shot until 6:13 in, a missed 3-ponter. He didn't score until knocking down a 3 from the high right side with 3:52 left in the first half.

In between, Daniels and Boatright knocked down consecutive 3s, Terrence Samuel scored on an end-to-end layup and Daniels hit another 3 in an 11-0 Huskies run that changed the tone of the game and got them within a point.

UConn took its first lead on a three-point play by Giffey and Daniels scored the last of his 10 first-half points on a turn-around jumper for a 25-22 lead at halftime.

The Huskies never trailed again. They shot 55.8 percent in the game -- 63.6 percent in the second half -- and held Florida under 39 percent.

Back in the tournament after serving a one-year postseason ban over academics, the Huskies made the final in the first year they were eligible to under Kevin Ollie, playing a half-court defense the coach said was meant to make Florida uncomfortable.

"We wanted to challenge every dribble, every pass," said Ollie, the first person other than Jim Calhoun to coach UConn in an NCAA Tournament game since 1979.

The Huskies needed Napier to turn it on in their first tournament game, an 89-81 win over Saint Joseph's in which the star guard scored 19 of his 24 points after halftime.

Not this time. Napier hit a 3 for a nine-point UConn lead two minutes into the second half but had plenty of help. Boatright gave the Huskies their first double-digit lead of the game with a layup after Napier checked out.

Later, Young made consecutive hook shots -- one with each hand -- to get the Gators within four and Prather's three-point play cut it to three with 9:12 remaining.

But Samuel sliced through the lane for a left-handed layup and Napier stole the ball from Wilbekin, leading to a layup for Boatright and a 47-40 UConn lead with under seven minutes remaining.

The Gators were never closer than six after that, while UConn's lead ballooned as high as 12.

"We have been through a lot of dogfights and we continue to believe in each other," said Napier. "We didn't point fingers when we were down. We just understood that this was ... going to be a game of runs. When we were down 16-4, we just looked at each other and said we got to put the pressure on, ante up, because this could be our last 40 minutes and we didn't want that."

Florida beat Albany, Pittsburgh, UCLA and Dayton by a modest 12.3 points per game to reach the Final Four after losing in the Elite Eight each of the past three seasons. The Gators pulled away in the second half in all but one of those games.

Against UConn, Wilbekin came out for several minutes early in the second half and said later he had cramped up a little bit. The TV broadcast showed a trainer working on the guard's thigh.

"I got some ice and then it wasn't really a problem," he said.

Game Notes

Calhoun led UConn to three national titles between 1999 and 2011 but stepped aside because of health problems prior to last season, allowing Ollie to take over ... The Huskies also beat Villanova, Iowa State and Michigan State to reach the Final Four. They are 10-2 in their last 12 games, with both losses coming against conference champion Louisville.

04/05 23:59:02 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Half
CIN 31
NCCU 25
 
2nd
WAS 28
ATL 31
 
1st
MIA 5
GSW 11
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
DET
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHI
2nd
UMO 7
OHIO 0
 
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
Final
BUCK 58
MDES 55
 
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
 
2nd
UWGB 63
EVAN 59
 
1st
ARST 30
ALA 27
 
1st
OHIO 26
ARKPB 24
 
1st
UNH 32
BU 28
 
Half
OU 37
CHIST 28
 
1st
TOL 34
DET 36
 
1st
CLMB 23
FD 18
 
1st
QUIN 18
HART 24
 
Half
SFLA 30
HOF 36
 
1st
HARV 40
HOU 34
 
1st
BONA 34
JST 26
 
Half
STJOE 35
LIU 29
 
1st
SYR 22
GHND 11
 
1st
MLOWELL 49
MTIDA 24
 
Half
CIN 31
NCCU 25
 
1st
VT 21
NIOWA 34
 
1st
WOFF 42
OHVALLEY 29
 
1st
TEMPL 33
PENN 30
 
1st
RUTG 16
PETE 29
 
1st
BGU 24
SEMIZ 23
 
1st
LAS 34
Terriers 23
 
Half
UVA 42
TENST 17
 
1st
KENT 50
TXARL 12
 
Half
FSU 22
CITA 19
 
Half
PBY 38
TOCC 15
 
1st
COOK 24
TENNM 25
 
Half
WMARY 48
WILL 15
 
1st
USB 39
WKENT 27
 
1st
HIGH 43
WMPEACE 23
 
1st
SMU 4
ARK 11
 
1st
ARMY 9
BING 5
 
1st
CSOU 11
CARK 3
 
1st
UMBC 0
HOW 0
 
1st
ARZ 10
KYST 13
 
1st
OREG 5
VCU 15
 
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
AKR
8:00pm Tonight
SCST
CIU
 
8:00pm Tonight
CREI
EILL
8:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
JVST
 
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ABCHRIST
JCHR
 
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TXSA
LOYC
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NDST
MNCROOK
 
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NEB
NEOM
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VANDY
NORST
 
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STLU
NCAT
 
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MTST
NARZ
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
NWST
 
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TULA
SOUTH
 
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ILLCH
STXAVIER
 
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TEX
RFLSH
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BRAD
TAMCC
 
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SMISS
TROY
8:05pm Tonight
DRAK
IUPUI
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ARKST
LAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
FLGC
USF
9:00pm Tonight
COL
AFA
9:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
BSU
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
BUF
 
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ORU
LALAF
9:00pm Tonight
CHAR
MIAMI
9:30pm Tonight
ISU
MD
9:30pm Tonight
UMO
NW
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
PITT
10:00pm Tonight
MICH
VILL
10:05pm Tonight
SACST
BRISTOL
 
11:00pm Tonight
USC
CSFU
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
DEL
1st
CLB 1
WIN 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
LOS
8:00pm Tonight
STL
OTT
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
EDM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
COL
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CAL
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
NJD