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Connecticut routs San Diego State to win its fifth NCAA men’s basketball title after dominating tournament



CNN

The University of Connecticut won its fifth men’s basketball national title with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State University Monday night at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Senior guard Tristen Newton led UConn (31-8) with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Final Four MVP Adama Sanogo, a junior forward, contributed with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“We were unranked at the beginning of the year, so we had a chip on our shoulder,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley told CBS. “We knew what level we could play at, even in these dark times. » he added, referring to the team’s six losses in eight games during the regular season.

He said heading into the tournament, his group gained the confidence they gained during the season.

“And when you have the type of leaders like Andre Jackson (six assists Monday) and Adama Sanogo, they kept this team together, got us back on track and we knew we were the best team in the tournament and we he we just had to play at our level,” he added.

San Diego State (32-7) was dominated by Keshad Johnson who had 14 points.

UConn trailed early, but San Diego State was undone by an 11-minute, eight-second stretch in which they made just five free throws and missed 12 straight shots from the field. The Huskies went from a 10-6 record to a 36-24 halftime lead.

The Aztecs managed a point midway through the second half and cut the lead to five at 60-55 with 5:19 left, but the Huskies scored the next nine to take a comfortable lead into the final two minutes.

” We fought. Came back to five in the second half, but gave them too much of a lead,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “We had to be at our best. We weren’t at our best. A lot of it had to do with UConn.

Senior guard Adam Seiko told reporters they gave themselves a chance with their second-half comeback, but UConn “just made a few more plays” at the end.

“They have a lot of weapons. They were pretty good,” said Matt Bradley, also a senior guard. “To beat them, we had to make shots. I shot badly. And you had to have a really good game to beat those guys on the offensive end.

UConn has won each of its six tournament games by at least 10 points, with its closest game being a 13-point victory over the University of Miami in the national semifinals.

“I just want to thank my teammates, my coaches who believed in me. Without them, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Sanogo told CBS.

Jordan Hawkins, who scored 16 points for UConn, talked about winning the crown a day after her cousin, Louisiana State University’s Angel Reese, won the women’s title.

“I mean, it’s absolutely amazing that we both have this opportunity and I mean the family reunion is going to be great, so that’s all I know,” he said.

UConn enters rarefied air as just the sixth team to win five NCAA men’s basketball championships, joining UCLA (11), Kentucky (eight), North Carolina (six), Duke ( five) and Indiana (five). All of UConn’s titles are from 1999, with the most recent before Monday being in 2014.

UConn women’s teams have won 11 national basketball titles.

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