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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
Final
SDP 5
ANA 4
Final
ATL 3
LOS 2
1:05pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Tonight
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Tonight
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
7:05pm Monday
TOR
WAS
 
7:10pm Monday
CHC
MIA
 
7:10pm Monday
MIN
BOS
 
8:10pm Monday
BAL
HOU
 
8:10pm Monday
MIL
STL
 
8:40pm Monday
LOS
COL
 
9:40pm Monday
ATL
ARI
 
10:05pm Monday
TAM
ANA
 
10:10pm Monday
NYM
SDP
 
10:10pm Monday
NYY
SEA
 
10:15pm Monday
PIT
SFG
 
Final
HOU 90
GSW 104
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR