UConn Huskies hold off Kentucky to win men's NCAA basketball championship
NORTH TEXAS -- Shabazz Napier led the way with 22 points and six rebounds as the Huskies held off the Wildcats in North Texas to win their fourth National Championship.
Ryan Boatright added 14 points and three steals for Connecticut (32-8), which became the first No. 7 seed ever to win the NCAA Tournament. Niels Giffey scored 10 points while Napier knocked down four 3-pointers en route to his second National Championship in four years.
James Young collected 20 points and seven rebounds for Kentucky (29-11), which was bidding to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Tournament since Villanova in 1985. Julius Randle was limited to 10 points and six rebounds while the Wildcats hurt themselves with a 13-of-24 showing from the free-throw line.
Boatright broke down the defense and buried a pull-up jumper as the shot clock expired to give Connecticut a 56-50 advantage with 4:12 to play. Alex Poythress followed with a dunk through contact but missed the ensuing free throw, and Kentucky could not get within one possession down the stretch.
The Huskies rushed out to a 30-15 lead with just under six minutes left in the first half before the Wildcats recovered with a 16-5 burst to go into the locker room down 35-31. Kentucky pulled within a point three times in the first 12 minutes of the second half, the last when Young knocked down a pair of free throws to cut it to 48-47.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Connecticut went 10-for-10 at the line and overcame Kentucky's height advantage with a 34-33 rebounding advantage. … The Wildcats were bidding to become the first team ever to win a National Championship while starting five freshmen. … The Huskies improved to 8-1 all-time in Final Four games - the best winning percentage ever for a school appearing in three or more Final Four contests.