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UConn upsets Michigan State, 60-54, back to Final Four

UConn Upends Michigan State To Reach Final Four

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and UConn beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the NCAA tournament.

Napier, the East Regional's most outstanding player, hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier's freshman year.

The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Fourth-seeded Michigan State's seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to reach the Final Four. Gary Harris led the Spartans (29-9) with 22 points.

The undersized Huskies matched Michigan State's physical play box-out for box-out, holding the Spartans to just six offensive rebounds and six points in the paint. UConn dared Michigan State to shoot 3-pointers, and the Spartans nearly made enough, going 11 for 29 from behind the arc.

Trailing 51-49 with more than two minutes left, Michigan State had a chance to tie or take the lead. But Adreian Payne fumbled the ball away, and Napier drilled a jumper on the other end.

After Payne hit a pair of free throws to pull the Spartans back within two, Keith Appling was called for a foul on Napier's 3-point attempt. The senior extended the lead to 56-51, and after Travis Trice missed a 3, Michigan State couldn't get to UConn to foul. Phillip Nolan slipped free for a dunk that clinched the victory and had thousands of Huskies fans in the Garden leaping up and down.

UConn won its third national title in 2011, but the Huskies were ineligible for last year's tournament because of previous low scores on the NCAA's academic progress measure.

Ryan Boatright made four steals as UConn used its quickness to force 16 turnovers. DeAndre Daniels shut down Branden Dawson, who scored 24 points in Michigan State's Sweet 16 win over top-seeded Virginia. Dawson attempted just three field goals, making one, to finish with five points.

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Payne hit two long jumpers to put Michigan State up 32-23 less than four minutes into the second half. But Napier started driving, getting the bigger Appling in foul trouble and UConn back in the game.

After hitting four straight free throws to tie the score at 32 with 12:38 left, Napier was struck in the face by Gary Harris - the UConn guard was called for a foul on the play - and left the court with his nose gushing blood. He was back less than minute later when Daniels completed a three-point play to give the Huskies the lead for good.

Boatright hit a contested 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to put UConn up 49-39 with less than seven minutes left. But the Spartans rallied behind their long-range shooting.

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Javier March 31 2014 at 7:21 AM


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docmacmillan March 30 2014 at 7:52 PM

Well, all I have to sday is Goooooooooooooooo UCONN~!~!~!~!~!~!~!

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oysterriver1 March 31 2014 at 10:29 AM

As I stated last week, UConn is a great 2nd half team, the real sleeper in this tourney, although not any more. Defense and foul shooting wins championships. Although I`m a big UConn fan, it is a dumb headline since Kentucky is a 8 seed. Shabazz is the leader but the unsung hero is Giffey, who has suddenly turned into a top flight rebounder.

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yankeecl1pper March 31 2014 at 10:28 AM

good call charles barkley- blow-out in 2nd half

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2 replies
kingwolf61 yankeecl1pper March 31 2014 at 10:40 AM

Sir Charles has called every game i seen him predict right so far must have a crystal ball or something

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zeppelin7290 yankeecl1pper March 31 2014 at 10:49 AM

Right? He was ripping on UConn at the half, then post game he starts saying "UConn was the better team offensively and defensively all game and Michigan State couldn't keep up..." okay Barkley....

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1 reply
GP zeppelin7290 March 31 2014 at 11:30 AM

that's right my brother. It helped being in the garden. big east touny spot lol.

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attygeorgew March 31 2014 at 10:20 AM

Connecticut may be the third smallest state in the nation but its UConn basketball teams (men and women) are number one in the hearts of its citizens.

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2 replies
davedoe12 attygeorgew March 31 2014 at 10:34 AM

Don't you think that EVERY STATE thinks their basketball team is number ONE!!!!! What you wrote, makes no sense at all.

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darrthom attygeorgew March 31 2014 at 10:48 AM

Regardless of how they do it, I guess. Citizens of Connecticut must love their hired guns, there aren't many "students" on the mens's basketball teams.

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1 reply
Linda darrthom March 31 2014 at 11:52 AM

I live in CT and you are correct….and very few on the team ever graduate. I believe one of the lowest graduation rates of all colleges. So, sad since many do not go on to make the NBA.

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hbryan8028 March 30 2014 at 8:24 PM

I LUV (love for the spelling police) my Huskies! Go UCONN.

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Husky Fan March 31 2014 at 10:13 AM

Congrats to Coach Ollie and all of the guys on what was a true team effort. I couldn't be prouder and I can't wait to see what the future brings!

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1 reply
davedoe12 Husky Fan March 31 2014 at 10:35 AM

I live in CT, but, sadly, UConn will get their arse kicked against Florida. Florida will come hard and fast at UConn, and UConn will fade away.

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Carol-Ann March 30 2014 at 8:33 PM

WTG Huskies !

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bethjack March 30 2014 at 8:36 PM

Great game but still won't top best upset ever. Villanova #8 over Patrick Ewing's #1 hoyas in '85. Always root for the underdog. Go huskies, go wildcats.

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bmytor March 31 2014 at 9:44 AM

I love my UConn Huskies : ) UConn , basketball capital of the world !

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