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Connecticut shocks Florida to reach NCAA Title game

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The Connecticut Huskies are going to the play for the NCAA national title after defeating the overall No. 1 seed Florida Gators 63-53 on April 5, in Dallas, Texas.

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Connecticut, a seventh-seed, started slow and after falling behind 16-4 early in the game, the Huskies outscored the Gators by 22 the rest of the way. DeAndre Daniels, who knocked down two three-pointers to ignite the Huskies after their slow start, led Connecticut with 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was Daniels’ second double-double performance of the tournament and fifth of the season.

Ryan Boatwright (13 points, six rebounds), Shabazz Napier (12 points, six assists) and Niels Giffey (12 points) joined Daniels in double- figures.

Leading 39-35 at the 10:15 mark, Connecticut went on a 22-14 run over the next 8:29 to take a 61-49 lead. During the spurt, which was capped by a Giffey open court slam, the Huskies put points on the board in 11 of their 14 possessions.

While Connecticut was proficient on offense – the Huskies shot 55.8 (24-of-52) percent from the field against the third best defense in the nation – they won the game on the defensive end.

Connecticut limited Florida to just 38.8 percent (19-of-49) shooting from the floor and just one triple (1-of-10). The Huskies held the Scottie Wilbekin,the Gators leading scorer, and three-point specialist Michael Frazier to a combined seven points.

Patric Young led the Gators (36-3) with 19 points while Casey Prather contributed 15.

Connecticut (31-8) will play the winner of the Wisconsin-Kentucky game for the national championship on Monday night.

The Difference in the game: Connecticut used the 3-pointer to open things up inside, hitting 5 of 12 from long range. The Huskies had such an easy time scoring inside that they had only basket outside the paint in the final 20 minutes, shooting 63.6 percent (14 of 22).

Notes: Florida was only the fourth team to reach the Final Four a 30-game winning streak and still none of them have won the National Championship. UConn is now 7-1 in their Final Four games, which is the best win percentage with a minimum of three games played. The Huskies also are making their fourth NCAA Title game appearance (3-0) since 1999. UConn led by 12 points late in the game, which is the largest deficit Florida has faced all season.

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