(CNN) Fourth-seeded UConn advanced to the NCAA men’s basketball championship game after a 72-59 win over No. 5 Miami in the Final Four on Saturday.
This is the first NCAA National Championship game for the UConn Huskies since 2014.
The Huskies got off to a quick start on Saturday, going 9-0 in the first five minutes of the game. The Miami Hurricanes tried to crawl back into the game, but ultimately the shots weren’t falling for the team. Up 10 points, UConn forward Alex Garaban knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Huskies a 37-24 lead heading into the half.
UConn’s strong start continued in the second half, stretching the lead to 20 points before the Hurricanes’ shots began to fall. Miami again cut the lead to 10 points before the Huskies regained momentum.
Huskies star center Adama Sanoko is observing Ramadan, and his dominance has been fueled by earlier claims that he will eat oranges and coconut water. He finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Jordan Hawkins, who was questionable to play with a non-Covid illness, added 13 points.
UConn head coach Don Hurley gave all the credit for the team’s success to his coaching staff and players.
“I’m glad I was able to attract the right type of people to get me to this point,” Hurley told the CBS broadcast. “The coaching staff, these amazing players and I obviously appreciate the University of Connecticut. They took a chance on a guy who was a high school coach not too long ago. What a blessing and incredibly grateful. … We’ve been working hard. Five for a while.”
Earlier Saturday, No. 5 San Diego State stunned No. 9 Florida Atlantic in the final seconds, winning 72-71 and advancing to its first NCAA title game. Trailing 71-70 with two seconds left in the game, Aztecs guard Lamond Butler hit a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to send the school to the national championship game.
The Huskies will now win the program’s fifth national championship when they take on San Diego State at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday evening.