Napier leads UConn past Kentucky to national title - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Napier leads UConn past Kentucky in NCAA men's basketball title game

UConn led wire-to-wire and held off a late Kentucky run to win the NCAA men's basketball national championship 60-54. (Source: MGN) UConn led wire-to-wire and held off a late Kentucky run to win the NCAA men's basketball national championship 60-54. (Source: MGN)
  • National SportsMore>>

  • Only took one day to guarantee 1st-time French Open finalist

    Only took one day to guarantee 1st-time French Open finalist

    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:24 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:24:36 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 7:27 PM EDT2018-05-27 23:27:53 GMT
    (AP Photo/Michel Euler). Sloane Stephens of the U.S. returns a shot against Netherland's Arantxa Rus during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, May 27, 2018.(AP Photo/Michel Euler). Sloane Stephens of the U.S. returns a shot against Netherland's Arantxa Rus during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, May 27, 2018.
    Reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens needs less than an hour to move into the second round on the opening day of the French Open.More >>
    Reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens needs less than an hour to move into the second round on the opening day of the French Open.More >>
  • Rose 20 under at Colonial for 3-stroke win over Koepka

    Rose 20 under at Colonial for 3-stroke win over Koepka

    Sunday, May 27 2018 6:18 PM EDT2018-05-27 22:18:18 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 7:27 PM EDT2018-05-27 23:27:45 GMT
    (AP Photo/Cooper Neill). Justin Rose prepares to putt on the seventh hole during the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, May 27, 2018.(AP Photo/Cooper Neill). Justin Rose prepares to putt on the seventh hole during the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, May 27, 2018.
    Justin Rose closed with a 6-under 64 to finish at 20 under at Colonial for a three-stroke victory over defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka in the Fort Worth Invitational.More >>
    Justin Rose closed with a 6-under 64 to finish at 20 under at Colonial for a three-stroke victory over defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka in the Fort Worth Invitational.More >>
  • Will Power wins Indy 500, No. 17 for car owner Roger Penske

    Will Power wins Indy 500, No. 17 for car owner Roger Penske

    Sunday, May 27 2018 3:35 PM EDT2018-05-27 19:35:14 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 7:27 PM EDT2018-05-27 23:27:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/AJ Mast). Will Power, of Australia, leads Simon Pagenaud, of France, though the first turn during the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Sunday, May 27, 2018.(AP Photo/AJ Mast). Will Power, of Australia, leads Simon Pagenaud, of France, though the first turn during the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Sunday, May 27, 2018.
    Will Power wins the Indianapolis 500, giving team owner Roger Penkse a 17th at the prestigious event.More >>
    Will Power wins the Indianapolis 500, giving team owner Roger Penkse a 17th at the prestigious event.More >>

ARLINGTON, TX (RNN) - Connecticut led buzzer-to-buzzer and staved off a late comeback bid by Kentucky to win the NCAA national championship game 60-54.

"It's a great feeling," UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said after the game. "It's unbelievable because those guys, my players, stayed with the program. I'm the first one to deflect all of the attention – those players that were up here deserve all of the attention, because if it weren't for them, this program wouldn't be here."

Shabazz Napier scored 22 and was named MVP for the Huskies, who won their fourth national title and second in three years.

"We didn't come out here to get any revenge or anything like that, we came to play," Napier said during the post-game press conference. "We we just understood we could get to the Promised Land."

Kentucky came from an early 15-point deficit to trail 35-31 at the half, and cut the lead to 1 point early in the second half but could never take the lead.

The Huskies, the first seventh-seeded team to win the tournament, surged to a 9-point second period lead before Kentucky rallied to cut the lead to 48-47 with 7:29 left. 

But the Wildcats went cold from the field down the stretch and struggled at the line the whole game. They missed six second-half free throws and only made 13-of-24 for the game.

Connecticut made all 10 of its free throws.

"They were not going to let us take this game from them," UK coach John Calipari said of the UConn effort. "We missed some shots we needed to make and some free throws. We played a really good team that was well coached."

Napier had 15 first-half points and keyed the win in the second half. He hit a 3-pointer and dished a pair of assists in the final seven minutes to help UConn cling to the lead.

Ryan Boatwright had 14 for the Huskies and Niels Griffey added 10.

Kentucky's James Young had 20 points and Julius Randle added 10.

UConn outrebounded the bigger Wildcats 34-33 and controlled the boards in the final minutes.

Kentucky, which entered the tournament seeded eighth, finished the year 29-11. UConn is 32-8.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly