Written by Adrian Beecher
HOUSTON, TX – Head Coach Dan Hurley led his UCONN Huskies to a National Championship and his players delivered in a Big way Monday night, defeating San Diego State Aztecs 76-59 to win the National Title.
Adama Sanogo was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, finishing the title game with 17 points, ten rebounds, and a blocked shot in his effort to help lead the Huskies to the crown.
Here’s how it all went down at NRG Stadium on Monday night.
UConn won the tip and got things started right away with a pull-up jumper from Jordan Hawkins. San Diego State answered with a triple from Saturday night’s hero Lamont Butler.
Following a Huskies turnover, the Aztecs tacked on another triple, this time from Darrion Trammel, to make it 6-2 early. Adamo Sanogo got in on the action with a jumper to settle things down for the Huskies.
As we reached the under 16-minute timeout, the Aztecs led things 10-8. Sanogo would tie things up for the Huskies at ten and give UCONN the lead at 12-10 with 3:55 left in the half.
In the midst of an San Diego State scoring drought, Donavan Clingan would slam down an ally-op dunk to extend an 8-0 run for the Huskies.
As we reached the 11-minute mark and the second timeout on the floor, it was the Huskies on top 14-10. To this point, the Aztec scoring drought had lasted 5:32.
Clingan drained two free-throws out of the timeout to extend the Huskies’ lead to six.
The scoring drought for the Aztecs would end after six minutes and two seconds with two free throws from Keshad Johnson to make it a four-point deficit.
After the Aztecs’ fifth turnover of the game was turned into a fast-break layup from UCONN’s Hawkins to make it 20-12, SDSU took their first timeout of the game.
Out of the timeout, the Aztecs scoring drought from the field extended to eight minutes after yet another missed basket. UCONN would then extend their lead to ten as Nahiem Alleye drained a pull-up jumper. At the under-eight-minute timeout, it was Huskies leading it 22-12.
Out of the timeout, Matt Bradley drained two of three free throws to make it an eight-point deficit. UCONN pressed on, and shortly thereafter, Hawkins drained a triple to extend the Huskies’ lead to 12 with 6:35 left to play in the half.
The Aztecs scoring drought from the field would finally end after 11 minutes as Trammell connected on a second-chance jumper. This made it 26-17 with 5:25 on the clock.
The celebration would be shortlived as Tristan Newton hit a turnaround jumper to start a 7-0 Huskies run, extending the lead at 33-17.
Butler would end the run, draining his second triple of the game. However, that was shortly answered after with a triple from Joey Calcatrra.
With 55.8 left to play in the half, UCONN took their first timeout of the game leading it 36-22. Out of the timeout, the Huskies turned over the ball.
Off the turnover, Trammel would drain a jumper for the Aztecs to cut the deficit to 12. That’s where things would hold as the two squads went to the locker room at the half, with the Huskies p 36-24.
Trammell led the Aztecs in scoring with seven points. Nathan Mensah led the team in rebounds with four.
For the Huskies, Tristen Newton led the charge with nine points. On the board’s it was Sanogo with six rebounds.
As the second half got underway, it was the Huskies getting the first possession. However, after a missed dunk and a missed triple, it would be the Aztecs to get on the board first with a pull-up jumper from Matt Bradley. This cut the deficit to ten.
However, the Huskies would answer with a layup from Sanogo to push their lead back to 12. After two free throws from Trammell sank for the Aztecs, Clingan drained a triple at the other end to push the Huskies’ lead to 13 with 17:27 left to play.
As we reached the under-16-minute media timeout, the Huskies led the Aztecs 43-32.
Newton drained two free-throws out of the timeout to put the Huskies up 13. At the other end, Adam Seiko drained a tripe for the Aztecs to cut it back to a ten-point deficit. Two trips to the line, and the Huskies drew their lead back to 14 with 12:45 left to play.
As we hit the under 12-minute media timeout, the Huskies’ lead was 13. Out of the timeout, two free throws from Naheim Alleye pushed it back to a 15-point deficit. Following exchanged jumpers, Butler drained a triple to start a 12-2 run for the Aztecs as they cut the deficit to six with 7:40 left to play.
They would continue to fight back, cutting things to five as Johnson drained two free throws with 5:19 left to play.
However, the Huskies regained momentum and pushed their lead back to 12 with 2:51 left to play. A foul against
Bradley would send Sanogo to the line for two free throws, which he drained to make it a 14-point lead again with 2:08 left.
San Diego State was able to cut the deficit to 12 twice more, but the effort was for not as the Huskies made five of six free throws down the stretch to close out the game with a 76-59 win over the Aztecs, earning the Huskies their 5th National Title and coach Dan Hurley’s first.