banner

College Basketball

more stats

NCAA Game Summary - Connecticut vs. Michigan State



(Sunday, March 30th)

Final Score: Connecticut 60, Michigan State 54

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - In 2011, Connecticut rode an incredible individual stretch from their point guard all the way to a national championship.

Three years later, the Huskies are back in the Final Four, and in no small part due to the efforts of their current floor general.

Shabazz Napier put up 25 points and six rebounds while carrying Connecticut in the second half, and the Huskies punched their ticket to North Texas with a 60-54 decision over Michigan State in the East Region final in front of a pro- Huskies crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Seventeen of Napier's points came after halftime, and seven were amassed during a pivotal 12-0 run that turned UConn's nine-point deficit into a 35-32 lead with under 12 minutes left.

The senior standout later sealed the Huskies' advancement by sinking all three free throws after being fouled by Keith Appling on a long-distance attempt, giving UConn a 56-51 lead with 30.6 seconds left.

"You could just see it, he wasn't going to let his team lose," Spartans guard Gary Harris said of Napier. "He's a winner and he willed his team to victory."

DeAndre Daniels added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies (30-8), who became only the second-ever No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four. They certainly earned the trip, knocking off second-seeded Villanova and third-seeded Iowa State prior to downing the Big Ten Tournament champion Spartans.

The Huskies now get a rematch with No. 1 overall seed Florida, whom UConn dealt a 65-64 loss in Storrs on Dec. 2, in Saturday's national semifinal at AT&T Stadium. The Gators have ripped off a school-record 30 straight wins since that result.

"We're going to be well prepared, because I know about these guys' heart, and that's what got us through," Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie said. "It was a heart of a champion, heart of a lion, and I love these guys."

While Napier put forth a performance reminiscent of former teammate Kemba Walker's amazing five-game run that catapulted the Huskies to a surprise 2011 Big East Tournament title in the same building, Michigan State's senior point guard endured an outing to forget. Appling managed just two points and four turnovers before fouling out on his ill-advised late hack of Napier in the final stages.

Appling, along with forward Adreian Payne, became the first four-year players in head coach Tom Izzo's 19-year tenure at Michigan State to never reach a Final Four.

Payne tallied 13 points and nine rebounds, but shot just 4-of-14 from the floor, and the fourth-seeded Spartans (29-9) were also hurt by 16 turnovers that the Huskies converted into 18 points.

"Unfortunately we did not bring our 'A' game today, and we got what we deserved today," said Izzo. "I tried to tell these guys that when you get to the Tournament, you've got to bring it every second. And today Connecticut did and we just kind of weren't as good as we have been."

Harris was Michigan State's lone consistent scoring threat, finishing with 22 points while knocking down four 3-pointers.

The Spartans owned a 32-23 lead with 16 1/2 minutes remaining following five straight points from Payne, but went scoreless on eight consecutive possessions thereafter as Connecticut came roaring back.

Napier buried a triple to ignite the Huskies' tide-turning 12-0 tear, then later hit four straight free throws before Daniels came through with a 3-point play that gave UConn a 35-32 edge with 11:46 to go.

"Coach told to us keep our composure," said Napier. "They made their run and it was time for us to make ours. And when Coach looks at me a certain way, I just know I got to be more aggressive, and I got to open shots when my teammates got me the ball and we just kept running. And guys were just making shots."

The Huskies kept on rolling, with Napier answering a Harris three with one of his own and feeding Niels Giffey for a run-out slam on Connecticut's next trip down the court for a 46-39 advantage with 7:37 left. A Ryan Boatright trey just over a minute later had the Huskies ahead by double digits.

Michigan State closed the gap behind consecutive 3-pointers from Denzel Valentine and Harris, and later pulled within 51-49 on Appling's lone bucket of the game -- a tough left-handed layup with 2:38 to go.

It was still a two-point differential when Appling got a piece of Napier's right arm on the latter's try from beyond the arc with 30.6 seconds on the clock. Napier calmly drained all three bonus attempts before Phillip Nolan put the game away for Connecticut with a transition dunk that came after the Spartans' Travis Trice was off the mark from 3-point range.

The Spartans also started the contest ice-cold, misfiring on eight of their first nine field goal attempts as Connecticut opened on a 12-2 run, but reversed the momentum with a 12-4 surge and later grabbed their first lead of the day when the second of back-to-back Harris 3-pointers created a 22-21 score with 3:28 left in the first half.

Harris' two treys were at the forefront of a 9-0 tear the Spartans closed out the half on, with a Valentine three in the final seconds sending Michigan State into the break up by a 25-21 count.

The Spartans' rally was aided by a prolonged offensive drought by the Huskies, who went a dismal 3-for-21 from the field over the remainder of the first half after beginning the game 5-for-8. UConn failed to score over the final 5:27 of the period.

Game Notes

Virginia had been the only previous No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four, doing so in 1984 ... The Spartans lost for only the second time in eight Elite Eight matchups under Izzo, with the lone other defeat coming to Texas in the 2003 tourney ... Michigan State fell to 3-12 all-time at Madison Square Garden and dropped a 64-60 decision to Georgetown there on Feb. 1 ... The schools last met in Germany in the 2012-13 opener for both, with Connecticut posting a 66-62 in Ollie's first game as head coach ... Napier set a UConn record by playing his 141st career game and moved past NBA star Ray Allen for fourth place on the Huskies' all-time scoring list. Napier now has 1,925 career points.

03/30 20:25:46 ET

Other Stories

  • Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Virginia Tech at Wake Forest

    Tomorrow at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Ole Miss at Arkansas

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Wisconsin at Iowa

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Colorado

    Tomorrow at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. Stanford/UCLA

    Tomorrow at 9:30 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 100
ORL 105
 
1st
DUKE 6
TEMPL 2
 
Final
CHA 100
ORL 105
 
Final
PHI 96
PHO 122
 
4th
ATL 89
DET 82
 
4th
TOR 109
MIL 63
 
3rd
MEM 78
BOS 65
 
3rd
OKC 69
BRK 62
 
3rd
WAS 72
CLE 56
 
3rd
MIN 60
SAN 82
 
2nd
DAL 68
LAL 59
 
2nd
DEN 31
NOP 26
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
UTA
1:00pm Today
BUF 0
KSU 0
Half
RICE 10
UTEP 3
 
9:30pm Tonight
SDST
AFA
1st
UTST 0
SJST 0
 
Final
COC 50
TEXAM 59
Final
DREX 70
USC 72
Final
GWEBB 72
CLEM 70
Final
MIAMI 79
AKR 51
Final
UCONN 75
DAY 64
Final
NEV 60
SHU 68
Final
LONG 81
UNCG 79
Final
ARKPB 46
VALPO 59
 
Final
WVU 70
BC 66
Final
TOWS 58
CCST 49
 
Final
YALE 70
ILLCH 58
 
Final
IOWA 63
SYR 66
 
Final
HAMP 82
ALCOR 69
 
Final
ODU 70
LSU 61
 
Final
KENT 89
BU 65
 
Final
SCAR 63
CHAR 65
 
Final
UVA 59
GWU 42
 
Final
WCU 72
HIWASSEE 53
 
Final
GT 78
MAST 69
 
Final
RIDE 78
LEH 74
 
Final
MSU 87
LOYC 52
 
Final
CMICH 76
MAINE 48
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
MNTST 0
 
Final
BAY 60
PVU 45
 
Final
HOF 66
USB 65
 
Final
OREG 78
TOL 68
 
Final
UGA 82
TROY 60
 
Final
STAN 89
UNLV 60
 
Final
FAIR 36
WOFF 54
 
Final
EMICH 71
YOUNG 62
 
Final
MON 73
COOK 50
 
Final
FIU 74
FLMEM 48
 
Final
KSU 74
SILL 51
 
2nd
CAL 55
TEX 65
 
2nd
GMAS 49
NMU 58
 
2nd
ILL 90
PEAY 55
 
2nd
ARK 75
DELST 57
 
2nd
MCNST 77
JCHR 70
 
2nd
NDST 55
KNST 55
 
2nd
OKST 73
UWMIL 60
 
2nd
LATU 57
MORE 44
 
2nd
SDKST 51
NDAK 58
 
2nd
XAV 61
STEPH 53
 
2nd
UF 44
LAMON 38
 
Half
WAKE 33
IONA 41
 
1st
GRCN 18
FAM 12
 
1st
COLST 29
UGST 34
 
1st
WASU 19
IDST 16
 
1st
WEBER 17
ILLST 25
 
1st
AUB 31
LALAF 22
 
1st
LOU 18
MARS 18
 
1st
ORST 13
ORU 11
 
1st
SD 0
SHSU 0
 
1st
UTAH 26
UCR 13
 
1st
DUKE 6
TEMPL 2
 
9:45pm Tonight
CORN
PSU
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
DEL
10:00pm Tonight
AMER
PBY
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
WASH
 
10:30pm Tonight
LBSU
KYST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
PITT
1st OT
CLB 3
BOS 3
 
3rd Intermission
PIT 4
NYI 4
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
NYR 0
 
1st
EDM 0
NJD 0