UConn caps dominant 2-year run with another title

  • Jeff Borzello, ESPN Personnel WriterApr 8, 2024

    , 11:34 PM ET Close Basketball recruiting expert.

  • Signed up with ESPN in 2014.
  • Graduate of University of Delaware.GLENDALE, Ariz.– On paper, the

plan wasn’t working.Zach Edey had 14 points, the reigning Wood Award winner was talking trash to Dan Hurley and the UConn bench, and Purdue led the Huskies with 8 minutes left in the first half.UConn had elected to secure Edey one-on-one with Donovan Clingan, essentially allowing him to score at will, while focusing the majority of their defensive attention on the Boilermakers’other players. Edey was dominating UConn’s projected lottery game choice center like no one else had all season.But UConn, as it has done regularly over the previous 2 years, stayed the course and trusted its tactical plan. Edey couldn’t beat the Huskies by himself, and his teammates weren’t doing much to help.The floodgates opened for UConn in the second half, and the Huskies ultimately beat Purdue 75-60, winning their 2nd straight males’s national championship and becoming the first string to go back-to-back considering that Florida in 2006 and 2007. Editor’s Picks 2 Associated “What could you state?”UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We won– by a lot again. “And after among the most dominant NCAA tournament runs in history in 2015, when UConn beat its 6 opponents by 20.0 points per game, it was even more unsurpassable this year. The Huskies ‘typical scoring

margin in their six 2024 NCAA competition wins was 23.3 points.Once once again, all six wins came over double digits– making that 12 straight NCAA competition wins by at least 10 points dating back to last season.”I believe it’s up there in terms of the best two-year runs that a program maybe has actually

ever had, “Hurley said.”I simply believe it’s the very best two-year run I believe in an extremely, very long time just because of everything we lost from in 2015’s team. To lose that much, and again, to do what we did again, it’s got to be as impressive a two-year run as a program’s had because prior to whoever did it before Duke. To me, it’s more remarkable than what Florida and Duke did because they revived their entire groups. We lost some major players.”Purdue was expected to be UConn’s most tough test in 2 years. The Boilermakers were arguably the second-best group in the country all season, boasted the best player in the college basketball and were a connected group that also occurred to be the second-best 3-point shooting group in the

nation.The numbers supported the Huskies’decision to focus the majority of their protective effort on Purdue’s complementary players. In Purdue’s wins this season, Edey balanced 24.9 points. In Purdue’s losses, Edey balanced 25.0 points. The 7-foot-4 center was going to get his production regardless.As a result, the much-anticipated matchup between Edey and Clingan was one-sided in the early minutes of the game. Edey short-armed his very first shot over Clingan, striking the front rim. For the next 11 minutes, though, he did whatever he desired against UConn’s big male. He scored over Clingan, absorbed contact to finish through Clingan, and even captured

a lob and dunked versus Clingan.Title Runs Team Result Next Year 2023-24 UConn!.?.!?? 2006-07 Florida Missed out on tournament 1991-92 Duke Lost in Round of 32– ESPN Stats & Info Purdue was getting Edey the ball in great position, and he was scoring consistently.After he scored his 13th and 14th points with 8:07 left in the first half to provide Purdue a 2-point lead, he examined at the UConn bench and exchanged a few words with Hurley as the 2 groups jogged back to their particular huddles at

the media timeout.”I got a couple looks,” joked Huskies assistant coach Luke Murray, who was designated to scout and plan for Purdue in preparation for Monday’s game.”Their offending effectiveness numbers

truly do not fluctuate that much depending upon whether he’s actually great or terrific or excellent. Where it truly starts to alter is when [Fletcher] Loyer, [Braden] Smith and [Lance] Jones and [Mason] Gillis and those guys make threes. … We felt if Zach had a fantastic game and we did an excellent job of holding those

other guys in check, that we ‘d have an actually great shot to win.”After Edey’s opening salvo, however, he had a hard time for a long stretch, and Purdue couldn’t

stay up to date with the Huskies. He made just one basket in the next 14:28 as UConn turned a 2-point deficit into a 9-point lead.UConn tasked freshman Stephon Castle, who had actually previously assisted shut down Northwestern’s Boo Buie and Illinois’Terrence Shannon Jr. earlier in the competition, with pushing Purdue point guard Smith, while veteran guards Tristen Newton and Camera Spencer looked to keep Purdue’s boundary players from getting clean looks.The Boilermakers tried just two 3-pointers in the very first half and 7 in the game, with the only made 3 coming when Smith had

to set up a desperation jumper with the shot clock winding down in the first half.”We saw the film,”Newton stated.”They get their 3-pointers off, individuals going down there and assisting on Edey. They did an excellent task game preparation and ensured it was a focus that we didn’t leave the 3-point line and let Edey do his damage. He just shoots 2s. He doesn’t shoot 3s. If he makes 15 2s like he did today, that’s 30. Where are the remainder of the points going to come from?” “I just believe it’s the very best two-year run I believe in an extremely, long time just because of everything we lost from last year’s

group. To lose that much, and once again, to do what we did again, it’s got to be as outstanding a two-year run as a program’s had since prior to whoever did it before Duke. To me, it’s more remarkable than what Florida

and Duke did due to the fact that they restored their entire teams. We lost some significant players.” UConn coach Dan Hurley” The coaches made a point that we ‘d be really secured if we might control their 3-point efforts,”Spencer added.” I think holding them to 7, we were simply actually locked in on not letting those other guys get involved in the game.” Purdue briefly threatened UConn early in the 2nd half, when Camden Heide had an aggressive put-back dunk to cut the lead to 7 and when Edey scored four straight points to cut the lead to nine. But the Huskies continuously countered with key shots when it mattered and led by double-digits for almost 15 minutes in the second half.They ended up being the 3rd team to win numerous title games by 15-plus points and just the second team to do it in consecutive years, signing up with UCLA’s three-year run from 1967 to 1969, according to ESPN Statistics & Information research.”To win [by] double digits these past two years, it’s

just a tribute to our culture here, “forward Alex Karaban said. “We’re never satisfied. We’re constantly starving. We’re always going to go on runs and we’re always going to continue to play difficult to where we’re going to break the other team. No team practices like us, no group goes as tough as us. It showed in the second half.

“Newton won the NCAA tournament’s A lot of Impressive Gamer award after finishing with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 helps– the 2nd time he has been UConn’s finest player in the national championship. In the 2023 title game win over San Diego State, Newton chose 19 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.Castle continued his outstanding postseason, ending up with 15 points and 5 rebounds after tallying 21 points and 5 rebounds against Alabama in the semifinals.Edey had 37 points for the most points scored in a losing effort in the national championship game.While in 2015’s 5th champion apparently settled the dispute around UConn’s blue-blood status, going back-to-back for the Huskies ‘sixth title in 26 years puts the program in really rarified air. Just 6 other schools have actually produced back-to-back guys’s basketball champions, and UConn is now tied for 3rd perpetuity with 6 champions.”We’re going to try to reproduce it again. We’re going to preserve a championship culture,” Hurley stated.”I do not think that we’re going anywhere. “

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