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Huskies, Wildcats Round Out Final Four

The Final Four is set in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and it will be seventh seed Connecticut against No. 1 Florida in the first game before eighth seed Kentucky takes on No. 2 Wisconsin. The Huskies and Wildcats advanced by winning close games on Sunday.

Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates after defeating the Michigan State Spartans to win the East Regional Final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament
Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates after defeating the Michigan State Spartans to win the East Regional Final of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half as UConn downed No. 4 Michigan State 60-54 to win the East Regional at Madison Square Garden. Napier hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left to put the Huskies ahead 56-51.

The 30-8 Huskies rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Gary Harris had a team-high 22 points for the Spartans, but Branden Dawson was held to five points on 1 of 3 shooting after scoring 24 points in the regional semifinals against Virginia.

Aaron Harrison and Kentucky ended Michigan’s season by defeating the second-seeded Wolverines 75-72 at Indianapolis. The game was tied at 72 until Harrison drained a 3-pointer from NBA range with 2.3 seconds left, moments after Julius Randle inadvertently tipped in the tying shot on Michigan’s previous possession. Harrison scored all 12 of his points off 3-pointers in the final 8:05.

Randle was named the Midwest Region’s Most Outstanding Player after delivering 16 points and 11 rebounds for his 24th double-double.

Nik Stauskas led all scorers with 24 points but missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to set off a Wildcat celebration.

The Final Four is set for Saturday near Dallas. Wisconsin didn’t face Kentucky this season, but Connecticut knocked off Florida 65-64 in Storrs on Dec. 2. The Gators haven’t lost since, reeling off a school-record 30 consecutive wins.

 


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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