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Remaining 4: UConn pulls away from Alabama late to advance to nationwide title sport vs. Purdue

UConn is a win away from back-to-back national championships. The Huskies pulled away from a pesky Alabama team late in the second half of their Final Four matchup on Saturday to dispatch the Crimson Tide 86-72 and set up a meeting with Purdue for the national title on Monday. UConn led by four at halftime

Remaining 4: UConn pulls away from Alabama late to advance to nationwide title sport vs. Purdue

Nick Bromberg

UConn is a win away from back-to-back nationwide championships.

The Huskies pulled away from a pesky Alabama crew late within the second half of their Remaining 4 matchup on Saturday to dispatch the Crimson Tide 86-72 and set up a meeting with Purdue for the nationwide title on Monday.

UConn led by 4 at halftime and didn’t incinerate the Tide after halftime prefer it did Illinois within the Elite Eight. As a substitute, UConn weathered a number of pushes by the Crimson Tide initially of the second half earlier than Alabama’s 3-point taking pictures regressed to the imply.

The Huskies opened up their first double-digit lead of the sport with 4:36 to go when Cam Spencer gave UConn a 73-63 lead on a free-throw line jumper. A minute later, Alex Karaban delivered the knockout blow with a 3-pointer that prolonged UConn’s result in 11.

After Alabama’s Mark Sears lower the result in eight once more with a 3-pointer of his personal, Donovan Clingan served as an eraser on the defensive finish with a block and the clincher on the offensive finish.

The massive performs from Spencer, Karaban and Clingan all got here whereas Stephon Fort was on the bench with 4 fouls. The freshman was the Huskies’ main scorer on Saturday night time however picked up three fouls within the second half and spent the waning moments of the sport on the bench as his veteran teammates performed pivotal roles.

Fort completed with 21 factors, whereas Clingan had 18 and Karaban and Spencer every scored 14. Clingan additionally completed with 4 blocks whereas Karaban and Spencer every had eight rebounds.

Alabama cools off within the second half

Alabama was a exceptional 8 of 11 from behind the arc within the first half but nonetheless trailed by 4 at halftime. Two issues had been true without delay: Alabama gave UConn its largest take a look at of the NCAA match, and its first-half taking pictures efficiency was merely unsustainable.

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Working example: the threes that had been almost automated for Alabama within the first half grew to become nearly unattainable within the second half. Alabama was simply 3 of 12 within the closing 20 minutes and completed the sport 11 of 23 from behind the 3-point line.

However regardless of the chilly taking pictures within the second half, Alabama pushed UConn till it ran out of fuel. The Huskies tried to run away with the sport twice within the opening minutes after halftime. Every time, Alabama responded with a 7-0 run of its personal and even had the sport tied at 56-56.

The Tide by no means took the lead, nonetheless. And it quickly stopped having solutions too. UConn outscored Alabama 9-2 after the sport was tied with 12:41 to go and the Crimson Tide by no means obtained inside six factors once more the remainder of the way in which.

Sears completed with a game-high 24 factors, whereas Grant Nelson had 19 factors and 15 rebounds. Nelson additionally produced the spotlight of the night time when he went proper at Clingan and threw it down — actually — over UConn’s large man.

A matchup of this season’s titans

UConn seeks to be the primary crew since Florida in 2006 and 2007 to win back-to-back males’s NCAA tournaments.

Earlier than UConn took down Alabama, Purdue beat NC State in the other semifinal. The Boilermakers and Huskies have been the 2 greatest groups in faculty basketball all season because the stage is about for what could possibly be an epic title sport.

The one large man having a greater NCAA match than Clingan is Purdue’s Zach Edey. The AP Nationwide Participant of the 12 months was dominant once more in opposition to NC State as he posted his sixth straight match sport with at the very least 20 factors and 10 rebounds. Clingan would be the greatest defender he is confronted all season lengthy. It will likely be fascinating to see these two go head-to-head.

Each groups appear evenly matched on the perimeter too. The Huskies have the top-ranked offense within the nation, in accordance with KenPom.com’s superior metrics, and Purdue is simply behind in third. Each groups additionally rank within the prime 12 of KenPom’s defensive scores.

As UConn goes for back-to-back titles, Purdue is hoping to hitch Virginia with a nationwide title a season after dropping to a No. 16 seed. The Cavaliers grew to become the primary No. 1 seed to lose within the first spherical of the NCAA match in 2018 and promptly gained the title in 2019. A season in the past, Purdue was the second No. 1 seed to lose within the first spherical when it fell to Fairleigh Dickinson.

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