NCAA Final Four: UConn beats top-seed Florida, 63-53
Arlington, Texas • Connecticut didn't wait for the final buzzer to beat Florida this time.
The Huskies, the seventh seed in the East Regional, had an outstanding game on both ends of the court to beat overall No. 1 seed Florida 63-53 on Saturday night.
The win ended Florida's 30-game winning streak, which began after the Huskies beat the Gators 65-64 on Dec. 2 on a buzzer-beating jumper by Shabazz Napier.
Napier helped seal this game with about 2 minutes to play when he made two free throws for a 59-47 lead. That margin was the deficit the Huskies faced in the opening minutes after a cold shooting start.
"We have been in a lot of dogfights," Napier said. "We are just an experienced group. We believe in each other. ... We are going to win. That is what we do."
With second-year coach Kevin Ollie in a defensive stance himself most of the game, the Huskies sidetracked the Florida offense by shutting down point guard Scottie Wilbekin and 3-point specialist Michael Frazier II, who scored a combined seven points. The Huskies were impressive on offense, shooting 55.8 percent (24 of 43) from the field against a team that allowed opponents to shoot 39.9 percent this season.
"Everybody was at Level 5 and that was the most important thing," Ollie said. "Whomever I put in the game, it was positive and they were productive."
DeAndre Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut (31-8), and it was his two 3-pointers in a span of 1:43 that helped ignite the Huskies after they had fallen behind 16-4.
"DeAndre was huge for us," Ollie said. "He stepped up and really rebounded for us and was pretty much unstoppable."
Daniels was 9 of 14 from the field and played the entire game.
Napier, who leads the team in almost every category, didn't dominate, but he finished with 12 points and six assists. He definitely got the better of Wilbekin in a matchup of senior point guards, both conference players of the year.
Chomping on the Gators
R DeAndre Daniels has 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead UConn over Florida.
• Florida starters Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II score a combined seven points.
• The Huskies shoot 55.8 percent from the floor.