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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
GT 80
NCSU 81
1st
LOU 13
UNC 21
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
IND
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
Final
TENN 71
AUB 63
Final
CLEM 64
BC 49
Final
STJOE 75
DAVID 70
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
Final
PITT 76
ND 72
Final
STJ 75
PROV 66
Final
UNH 63
USB 48
 
Final
WVU 77
TTU 58
Final
TEMPL 55
TULA 37
Final
EMICH 69
WMICH 63
 
Final
IOWA 63
WISC 74
Final
SHU 90
XAV 82
Final
UF 57
ARK 56
Final
STET 75
LIP 73
 
Final
ILL 60
PSU 58
Final
TULSA 78
SFLA 71
 
Final
INDST 64
BRAD 58
 
Final
MAINE 59
GTDNS 77
 
Final
LEH 89
BU 86
 
Final
MARQ 68
BUT 72
 
Final
DEL 71
COC 68
 
Final
CREI 40
GEOR 67
Final
CLST 76
UWGB 62
 
Final
NEOM 65
MAST 75
 
Final
LOYC 45
ILLST 48
 
Final
KU 68
KYST 57
Final
JVU 50
KNST 51
 
Final
MSST 73
LSU 67
Final
SHU 71
MNTER 77
 
Final
VCU 55
RICH 64
 
Final
ISU 83
TCU 66
 
Final
BING 76
MLOWELL 69
 
Final
HART 46
VERM 65
 
Final
DEP 55
VILL 68
Final
WAKE 73
VT 70
 
Final
UGST 74
ARKST 43
 
2nd
FAM 23
COOK 36
 
2nd
NDAK 67
IDST 53
 
2nd
ARMY 43
GHND 55
 
2nd
BEL 71
TENT 53
 
2nd
TXSA 45
UAB 56
 
2nd
ILLCH 49
VALPO 58
 
2nd
DRAK 46
EVAN 49
 
2nd
IND 49
RUTG 52
 
2nd
UMO 34
BST 45
 
1st
RMU 19
BRY 23
 
Half
WAGN 43
CCST 25
 
1st
GWEBB 25
CCAR 18
 
1st
MDES 4
COPST 16
 
1st
RFLSH 31
FD 20
 
1st
RIU 14
GWU 12
 
1st
SCAR 28
UGA 16
 
1st
Terriers 23
LIU 25
 
1st
PAC 26
LMU 20
 
1st
STLU 23
UMASS 21
 
1st
HOW 14
MRGST 2
 
1st
DREX 29
UNCW 31
 
1st
LOU 13
UNC 21
 
1st
MIZZ 21
MISS 31
 
1st
ALCOR 16
SOUTH 11
 
1st
NIOWA 27
WICHS 21
 
1st
JMU 13
WMARY 39
 
1st
RAD 26
WINT 26
 
1st
EILL 16
SIUE 4
 
4:30pm Today
UNCA
CAMP
 
1st
MORE 4
EKENT 3
 
1st
NICST 0
INCWORD 4
 
1st
CMICH 7
OHIO 2
 
1st
TEXAM 11
VANDY 0
 
5:00pm Tonight
UWMIL
DET
 
5:00pm Tonight
LAMON
SALA
 
5:00pm Tonight
UNCG
WCU
 
5:05pm Tonight
EWASH
IDAHO
 
5:30pm Tonight
SDKST
DEN
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
HOUB
 
5:30pm Tonight
MVSU
JST
 
5:30pm Tonight
TXST
LALAF
 
5:30pm Tonight
LATU
MARS
5:30pm Tonight
SD
ORU
 
6:00pm Tonight
PVU
ALAAM
 
6:00pm Tonight
GRAM
ARKPB
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
DART
 
6:00pm Tonight
SCST
DELST
 
6:00pm Tonight
COLST
FRES
6:00pm Tonight
NORST
HAMP
 
6:00pm Tonight
MINN
NEB
6:00pm Tonight
WYO
NEV
6:00pm Tonight
SAV
NCAT
 
6:00pm Tonight
GAELS
PEPP
 
6:00pm Tonight
NW
PURD
6:00pm Tonight
BAY
TEX
6:00pm Tonight
CHAT
CITA
 
6:00pm Tonight
SMISS
WKENT
6:00pm Tonight
CORN
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAM
ABCHRIST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
KENT
ALA
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CSOU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
NE
ELON
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
FIU
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
SAMF
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUQ
GMAS
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
LBSU
HAW
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
WOFF
MERC
 
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MCNST
NO
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
PETE
 
7:00pm Tonight
STEPH
TAMCC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
USCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
ARKLR
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCR
CSNO
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
NWST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
OKLA
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
SDU
USF
 
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
SJST
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SEMIZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
TOL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOF
TOWS
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
UCF
8:00pm Tonight
MURST
TENNM
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDST
UTST
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
8:15pm Tonight
TXARL
TROY
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TENST
JVST
 
8:30pm Tonight
WASU
STAN
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
CHIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
MTST
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
NARZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
BYU
SCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
TXPA
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
WEBER
 
10:00pm Tonight
UNLV
AFA
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
MEM
10:00pm Tonight
CALST
SEAT
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
UCSB
 
10:05pm Tonight
SACST
MONT
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
MNTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
COL
10:30pm Tonight
WLVRN
UMKC
 
Final
DET 4
NYI 1
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
WIN
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI