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

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Music

Luke Bryan joins the Chicago White Sox

Luke Bryan poses in the press room with the award for entertainer of the year at the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.

Luke Bryan joined the Chicago White Sox for spring training in Arizona.

in Music

Jana Kramer defends home state after Madonna criticism

The Academy of Country Music hosts a free all star concert for fans as country music artist Jana Kramer performs at the ACM Fremont Street Experience on Saturday, March 31, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Jana Kramer steps up to defend Michigan after Madonna slammed their home state in interviews.

in Entertainment

‘Empire’ co-stars spark romance rumors

gracegealey

Are Trai Byers and Grace Gealey more than just coworkers?