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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
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
 
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
 
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
 
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
 
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
 
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
 
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
 
Half
LAL 51
MEM 46
 
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
 
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
 
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
 
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
 
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
 
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
 
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
 
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
 
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
 
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
1st OT
GEOR 57
UF 55
 
2nd
GONZ 79
UGA 68
 
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
 
2nd
CAL 52
CPSL 42
 
2nd
UCD 61
UTST 62
 
2nd
SDST 31
ARZ 32
 
Half
NDAK 42
ALAST 21
 
Half
CSNO 22
PORST 33
 
1st
AKAN 0
PAC 0
 
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
 
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
 
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
 
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
 
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
 
2nd
SJS 0
CAL 0