The University of Connecticut is one win away from its fourth national championship after defeating top-seeded Florida 63-53 in Saturday’s Final Four matchup at AT&T Stadium.
The Huskies will play the winner of Saturday night’s showdown between No. 2 seed Wisconsin and No. 8 seed Kentucky in the national title game at 9:10 p.m. ET on Monday.
If No. 7 UConn (31-8) finishes its magical NCAA tournament run with a win Monday night, the school will become just the second team seeded seventh or lower to ever win a national title (No. 8 seed Villanova won in 1985).
UConn closed out the first half with a 21-6 run to enter halftime with a 25-22 lead.
The Huskies defense clogged up the paint to prevent the Gators’ guards from driving to the basket, and also contested every shot that Florida took from the perimeter. This high-pressure defense from UConn made it difficult for Florida to get off quality shot attempts. The Gators shot 2-for-2 from outside the paint to start the game but went 1-for-10 (including seven straight misses) to end the first half.
Florida (36-3) made an impressive run in the second half to close the gap to under five with 10 minutes left, but UConn responded with quality free throw shooting and spectacular defense that forced 11 Florida turnovers. The Huskies extended their lead to 10 at 51-41 with about five minutes remaining and eventually built a 12-point advantage in the final two minutes, which was the largest deficit that the Gators faced all season.
Senior guard Shabazz Napier, who dominated in the rounds leading up to the Final Four, scored just 12 points for the Huskies. Junior forward DeAndre Daniels led UConn with 20 points, while senior center Patric Young led Florida with 19.
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