Shabazz Napier, UConn stun No. 1 Florida, get Kentucky in title game Monday night
|04.05.14 at 9:07 pm ET|
The pride of Boston’s Mission Hill has led his team to the ultimate game of the college basketball season.
Shabazz Napier had six assists and four steals while DeAndre Daniels scored a team-high 20 points to lead UConn to a 63-53 win over top-ranked Florida on Saturday night in the first of two national semifinal games at the Final Four at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Huskies will try for their fourth NCAA championship Monday night against another team that has found late-season rhythm, the Kentucky Wildcats, a 74-73 winner over Wisconsin in the other national semifinal Saturday night. Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds was the difference for John Calipari‘s team.
Napier, a Boston product who was recruited by Jim Calhoun, leads a team that is advancing to the national title game Monday night against the winner of the Kentucky-Wisconsin national semifinal.
The win provided a bitter bookend for the Gators, whose last lost was on Dec. 2 to the Huskies. Since then, the Gators won a school-record 30 straight games.
The Gators raced out to a 16-4 lead and contained Napier for most of the first half. But the Huskies used an 11-0 run to help wipe out the deficit. A 21-6 run to end the first half gave them a 25-22 lead at the break. The Huskies never relinquished the lead in the second half, en route to their 31st win of the season. Napier and Ryan Boatright combined for 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
The Huskies are advancing to their fourth national title game since winning their first national championship in 1999. They are 3-0 in their previous three trips to the Monday night game. UConn was beaten by Michigan State in the national semifinal in 2009.
The improbable run for the No. 7 seed in the East began with an overtime win over Saint Joseph’s in the second round. UConn then stunned No. 2 Villanova before dispatching Iowa State and then Michigan State in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden last weekend.