HOUSTON — Adama Sanogo produced a double-double and Jordan Hawkins scored 13 points coming off an illness as fourth-seeded UConn rolled to a 72-59 victory over Miami in the second national semifinal of the Final Four on Saturday in Houston.
The Huskies (30-8) earned their fifth berth in the title game, where they will meet San Diego State in pursuit of their fifth championship. UConn improved to 16-0 against nonconference foes this season, doing so by bludgeoning fifth-seeded Miami in the paint.
Behind Sanogo, who paired 21 points with 10 rebounds, the Huskies tallied 38 paint points. UConn shot 49.1 percent overall and staved off a second-half rally after building a 46-26 lead.
Behind Isaiah Wong, who led the Hurricanes (29-8) with 15 points, Miami used a 19-7 run to close to within 53-45 with 11:40 remaining. Wong delivered a transition dunk, a turnaround jumper and a 3-pointer during the surge, but UConn stabilized behind a Hawkins 3-pointer.
Hawkins sank three 3s after missing practice this week while battling illness. After his 3 stalled the Hurricanes’ surge, Miami failed to slice the deficit to single digits for the remainder of the game.
Jordan Miller posted 11 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which matched a program record for wins this season.
UConn was on fire from the perimeter at the start, drilling three 3-pointers — two from Sanogo — to seize a 9-0 lead. But as they did against Texas in the Elite Eight, the Hurricanes fashioned a response, and when Pack drained a 3 with 8:20 left in the first half, Miami pulled even at 19-19.
Miami followed by suffering through a prolonged cold snap and the Huskies took full advantage, punishing the Hurricanes in the paint behind Sanogo.
The Hurricanes missed nine consecutive attempts during a nearly five-minute scoreless drought and closed the half missing 12 of 14 shots.
Sanogo, meanwhile, finished the half with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
The Huskies built a 13-point lead at the break by making their final three shots, two from behind the arc and one at the buzzer when Alex Karaban capped a perfectly executed set with a 3 for a 37-24 advantage.
–By MK Bower, Field Level Media
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