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Dogs top 'Cats

By Curtis Lundstrom
On April 8, 2014

It’s a dog eat cat world in Texas.

Capping off an improbable NCAA tournament run, the University of Connecticut Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 Monday in Arlington, Texas.

“I said it in the beginning, 18 months ago. The last will be first,” said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. “We were last, and now we’re first.”

Led by the frontcourt tandem of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatwright, the Huskies raced to a 30-15 first half lead and held on down the stretch against a young Wildcat squad which started five freshmen.

Napier, who finished with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, was named Final Four Most Outstanding player. Ollie became the first head coach since 1989 to win a national title within his first two seasons, joining Michigan’s Steve Fisher.

UConn hitall 10 of its free throws in the game, compared to 13-of-24 for the Wildcats.

The No. 7-seeded Huskies defeated No. 10 Saint Joseph’s in the round of 64, knocked off No. 2 Villanova to advance to the Sweet 16, downed No. 3 Iowa State for a spot in the Elite 8, then No. 4 Michigan State for a trip to the Final 4.

UConn then knocked off No. 1-overall seed Florida to earn a date with No. 8 Kentucky in the title game.

With less than than two minutes to play, the Huskies led by six and had possession. With the shot clock winding down, UConn got off a shot and then crashed the boards for an offensive rebound to force Kentucky to play the foul game.

But the veteran Huskies were up to the challenge, hitting two free throws with 25 seconds left to ice the game and give the Huskies their fourth national championship and third in the last 10 ears.

The Huskies finished the season 32-8 overa`ll and became the first No. 7 seed to win the national title since the NCAA went to a 64/68 team format.

-- curtislundstrom@gmail.com
Twitter: @curtsport07

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