Fourth seed UConn advanced to the NCAA men’s basketball championship game following a 72-59 win over No. 5 Miami in the Final Four on Saturday.
It will be the first NCAA national championship game for the UConn Huskies since 2014.
The Huskies got off to a quick start Saturday, going up 9-0 within the first five minutes of the game. The Miami Hurricanes tried to come crawling back into the game but ultimately the shots did not fall for the team. Up 10 points, UConn forward Alex Karaban knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Huskies a 37-24 lead heading into the half.
UConn’s strong start continued in the second half, extending the lead to 20 points before the Hurricanes’ shots started to fall. Miami cut the lead down to 10 points again before the Huskies regained momentum.
Huskies star center Adama Sanogo, who has been observing Ramadan and said earlier he would be eating oranges and coconut water before tip-off, was his dominant self. He finished with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Jordan Hawkins, who was questionable to play with a non-Covid illness, added 13 points.
UConn head coach Dan Hurley gave all the credit to his coaching staff and players for the team’s success.
“I’m just happy I was able to attract the right type of people to put me in this position,” Hurley told the CBS broadcast. “The coaching staff, these amazing players and I appreciate obviously the University of Connecticut. They took a chance on a guy that was a high school coach not too long ago. What a blessing and incredibly grateful. … We’ve been striving for five for a while.”
Earlier Saturday, No. 5 San Diego State stunned No. 9 Florida Atlantic at the last second to win 72-71 and advance to its first NCAA title game. Trailing 71-70 with less than two seconds left in the game, Aztecs guard Lamont Butler hit a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to propel the school to the national championship game.
The Huskies now look to win the program’s fifth national championship when they face off with San Diego State on Monday evening at NRG Stadium in Houston.