The underdog, Cinderella story, UConn Huskies were set to face off against the Florida Gators. Florida was favored to win, as they were the number one seed, and it showed in the first couple minutes of the game.
Florida jumped out to a huge lead right from the beginning, as UConn was losing 16-4. Florida had consistent offense and shot 6-13 from the field, while UConn was seriously struggling. UConn had 6 turnovers and shot 2-10 from the field through the first ten minutes of the game.
Shabazz Napier was attacking the basket, but nothing was falling for him, or his teammates. On the opposite side, Florida had 4 different people score on the first four scoring possessions.
Florida had jumped out to a 16-4 lead, and I was ready to turn off my TV and take a little nap. However, within a span of 2 minutes, UConn all of a sudden took over and caught fire. The Huskies made 4 straight jumpers (3 of the shots were from three point land), while Florida missed 4 straight shots.
Out of no where, Connecticut had pushed the deficit to only 1 point, with an 11-0 run. DeAndre Daniels made two of the three, three's, while Shabazz Napier looked more energized. Florida looked poised, but Connecticut was able to continue their great shooting (4-7 from three, while Florida was 1-7) and go into halftime with a 25-22 lead.
The Huskies continued their momentum in the second half, as they immediately went on a 6-0 run to start the second half. It was Florida's first deficit of the Tournament! During the regular season, the Gators were 0-2 whenever they faced a deficit in the second half.
They faced the same problem during the start of the second half, as their offense was not playing well. Florida was only able to make two field goals for the first 8 minutes of the second half! They were only scoring off of free throws, and depending too much on defense (Still, UConn was shooting well).
Scottie Wilbekin was struggling mightily, as he shot 2-8 from the field the entire game, and complained of cramps in his leg. The Huskies were ready to cruise to a Championship appearance with a 10 point lead, but like Florida in the first half, they became relaxed.
Florida took advantage, forced three straight turnovers, and went on a mini 6-0 run. Patric Young made four straight important lay ups, and Florida gained some momentum. From there, Florida pushed and pushed to try to tie the game. However, Patric Young was taken out of the game around 8 minutes left in the game, and UConn took advantage.
Scottie Wilbekin had a terrible turnover, as he was dancing with the ball, going no where, and Shabazz Napier pick-pocketed him. With the rough play of Wilbekin and the Florida offense, and Patric Young out of the game, UConn went on a 8-0 run to push the lead to double digits.
Then..... Patric Young came back in the game.
Young scored 6 straight points for Florida's offense, and was able to push the deficit to only 4 points. Young was trying to play the role of hero, and was succeeding, but UConn's team offense was too much. Florida's press was no help to getting back the lead, as UConn had 12 team assists and shot 57% from the field! In fact, UConn made 9 STRAIGHT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS IN THE SECOND HALF! Shabazz and the Huskies were too much!
The Huskies controlled the entire second half, and never let up in the last 5 minutes of the game. Florida was only able to push their deficit to 3 points (With 9 minutes left), then Patric Young was taken out of the game, UConn's team offense gained momentum, Scottie Wilbekin's terrible play continued, DeAndre Daniels continued his great play, and UConn walked out with a 63-53 win.
The seven seeded Huskies have advanced to the NCAA Championship!
Key's to the game:
Patric Young being taken out of game (UConn went on 8-0 run)
UConn's great offense and team play (12 assists, 56% from field, 41% from three)
Scottie Wilbekin was absolutely terrible (4 points, 3 turnovers, 25% from field)
DeAndre Daniels (20 points, 10 rebounds)
Florida's terrible offense (11 turnovers, 3 assists, 37% from field, 1 for 10 from three)