News

UConn tames Wildcats for NCAA title

UConn tames Wildcats for NCAA title

NATIONAL CHAMPS: Connecticut players celebrate against Kentucky during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 7, in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Associated Press/Eric Gay

(Reuters) – Connecticut’s experience trumped Kentucky’s youth as the Huskies prevailed with a 60-54 NCAA national championship victory on Monday that completed a turnaround for the recently penalized program.

Connecticut missed last year’s NCAA tournament, banned from the post-season after failing to meet academic standards, but they restored order this season as they surged to a second title in four years.

Senior Shabazz Napier, one of three players who were also a part of the 2011 championship team, scored 22 points and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, which was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier told reporters. “This is what happens when you ban us.”

PHOTOS: NCAA mens basketball championship

Point guard Napier’s poise down the stretch helped overcome the tenacious young Kentucky team.

He set up DeAndre Daniels’ layup that gave Connecticut a 58-52 edge with under three minutes left before the Huskies closed it out at the free throw line.

James Young scored 20 to lead Kentucky, a program that boasts five freshmen in their starting lineup and took the college basketball tournament by storm by reaching the final.

They fell behind by 15 points in the first half but clawed their way back to trail just 35-31 at halftime.

Kentucky were never able to take the lead but hung tough down the stretch where they trailed by just four in the final minute.

The Wildcats could face the departure of players to the NBA Draft, including forward Julius Randle who is projected to be a lottery pick if he leaves college.

“It’s about each individual on the team,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari.

“Now it’s about them, and we’ll sit down with each of them and they’ll make decisions for themselves.”

Connecticut second-year coach Kevin Ollie, a former NBA player, led his program to the title in just his first NCAA tournament.

Seventh seed Connecticut and the eighth seeded Wildcats had the highest combined seeding for any two teams to ever play for a national championship.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Recent Headlines

7 hours ago in National

Trump looks to unify Republicans; Kasich reported dropping out

17-overlay

Billionaire Donald Trump assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Wednesday with a message on unity that also suggested he was not going to work too hard to placate some party establishment figures angered by his outsider candidacy.

11 hours ago in National

Takata recalls millions more air bag inflators

takata16125303396828

Automakers will recall up to 40 million more air bag inflators installed by Takata Corp by 2019, expanding the largest automotive recall in American history.

12 hours ago in Sports

Deflategate: Brady gets more time

tombrady276076991807

Lawyers for the New England Patriots quarterback have been given another two weeks to appeal his "Deflategate" suspension.

12 hours ago in Sports

Kentucky Bourbon Trail offers a lesson for reviving racing’s fans

derby16124571363511

Some of the best-known farms in Kentucky's scenic horse country are borrowing from another of the state's contributions to the good life — bourbon whiskey distilleries — in an effort to win new recruits to an aging and shrinking fan base.

12 hours ago in National

School safety: Drops in bullying, violent crime on campus

schoolsafety16124794280762

The latest government snapshot of school crime paints a picture of safer schools, with declines in violent crime, bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation.