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NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: UConn upsets Florida to reach title game

The Hartford Courant

April 05. 2014 8:50PM
Connecticut center Amida Brimah (35) and forward Tyler Olander (10) and guard/forward Lasan Kromah (20) react after winning against the Florida Gators in the semifinals of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

ARLINGTON, Texas - The UConn Huskies never seem to run out of surprises, never seem to run out of players, never seem run out of resourcefulness.

Nor will they run out of time. They have extended their season all the way to the national championship game.

UConn stunned Florida, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, 63-53, in the semifinal on Saturday night before 70,000 at AT&T Stadium. The Huskies, who fell 12 points behind in the early going, never showed a hint of panic and grasped control of the game. And to those who believed their victory over Florida in December was some kind of fluke, they respectfully answered, "fluke that."

DeAndre Daniels, breaking free as Florida bottled up UConn's guards, scored 20 points and took in 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies. Ryan Boatright scored 13, and Shabazz Napier only 12, but both brought the ball pressure that broke down the Gators' offense. Once again, coach Kevin Ollie's game plan proved to be brilliantly effective.

Now the Huskies (31-8), seeded seventh in the East Regional to start this tournament, will play either Kentucky or Wisconsin for the national championship. UConn has won titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011, and if they win Monday night, this senior class would be the first in school history to earn two championship rings.

Florida (36-3) had won 30 games in a row since losing at UConn on Napier's buzzer-beater on Dec. 2. The Gators were playing short-handed that night, leading many experts to believe they would blow the Huskies out in the high-stakes rematch. For a time, a brief time, it looked like they might. They led 16-4 after nine minutes, but the Huskies began hitting from the perimeter, starting with a Daniels' three-pointer, and put together an 11-0 run.


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