For the third straight game, the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team found themselves in quite a hole early on.
And with this coming against the No. 1 overall seed the Florida Gators this time around, it wasn’t going to be an easy task. But just like they had done in the previous two, the Huskies found a way to do something magical.
DeAndre Daniels had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead UConn past Florida 63-53 to advance the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game on Monday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
The Huskies will take on the Kentucky Wildcats who beat the Wisconsin Badgers 74-73 in the second game.
UConn improves to 31-8 while Florida finishes their season at 36-3. Two of the Gators’ three losses on the season came against the Huskies.
The Gators got out of the gates quickly with runs of 9-2 and 7-2 to take a 16-4 lead with 9:48 to go in the first half. However UConn responded with an 11-0 run behind Daniels, Boatright and Terrence Samuel to cut the lead to one.
They had two chances to take the lead but both Daniels and Boatright missed jumpers. Florida would get their lead back to five points before a Napier three and Giffey old fashioned three point play would give the Huskies their first lead at 21-20.
That lead didn’t last too long though as a Prather jumper put the Gators back out front. UConn would close out the half with the final four points.
The Huskies extended their lead to nine to start the second half with the first six points before Kasey Hill got Florida on the scoreboard with a free throw. Over the next few minutes, the lead would stay between six and eight points before UConn would push it to 10 points at 39-29.
A 9-2 Gators run would cut the Huskies lead to three points and the lead hovered their for a bit. Then UConn went on an 8-1 run to get their lead back to 10. The Gators would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Once again facing adversity, the Huskies prevailed. UConn head coach Kevin Ollie made great adjustments and with the mentality and confidence he brings to the team, you could tell they weren’t going to give up.
Now they’re one win away from their fourth national championship and second in the last four years.
photo credits: stephen dunn, richard messina – hartford courant