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Kentucky downs Michigan

UConn stuns Michigan State to advance to Final Four

Posted: March 30, 2014 4:54 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2014 4:54 p.m.

Kentucky's Aaron Harrison and his teammates hold up their trophy after an NCAA Midwest Regional against Michigan on Sunday in Indianapolis.

 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Harrison made a 3-pointer from NBA range with 2.3 seconds left Sunday to lift Kentucky and its freshmen to a 75-72 win over Michigan and a trip to the Final Four.

After Harrison's teammate, Julius Randle, inadvertently tipped in the tying shot on Michigan's previous possession, the eighth-seeded Wildcats got the ball to the 6-foot-6 guard, whose twin brother, Andrew, is another of the five freshmen in Kentucky's starting lineup.

Standing a good three feet behind the arc, Harrison elevated over Caris LeVert and took a bit of contact on the arm from the Michigan guard as he shot. No matter. The shot rattled in, and for the second straight game in the Midwest Regional, Harrison had the go-ahead points in a tense game for the Wildcats (28-10). In this one, he scored all 12 of his points off four 3-pointers over the last 8:05.

Nik Stauskas missed a halfcourt heave at the buzzer for second-seeded Michigan (28-9), and moments later, Harrison was under a dog pile — or make that a puppy pile. This is the first all-freshman starting lineup to make the Final Four since another well-known group, the Fab Five of Michigan, did it in 1992.

"I'm gonna see everyone in Dallas this year," coach John Calipari said, with a Texas Twang, as he addressed the crowd before the nets came down.

The Wildcats will play Wisconsin next Saturday outside of Big D.

Stauskas finished with 24 points for the Wolverines, who finished a win shy of their second straight Final Four.

Randle had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his 24th double-double and was named the region's most outstanding player.


UConn 60, Michigan State 54

NEW YORK (AP) — Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and UConn beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the NCAA tournament.

Napier, the East Regional's most outstanding player, hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier's freshman year.

The Huskies (30-8) 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.

Fourth-seeded Michigan State's seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to reach the Final Four. Gary Harris led the Spartans (29-9) with 22 points.

The undersized Huskies matched Michigan State's physical play box-out for box-out, holding the Spartans to just six offensive rebounds and six points in the paint. UConn dared Michigan State to shoot 3-pointers, and the Spartans nearly made enough, going 11 for 29 from behind the arc.

Trailing 51-49 with more than two minutes left, Michigan State had a chance to tie or take the lead. But Adreian Payne fumbled the ball away, and Napier drilled a jumper on the other end.

After Payne hit a pair of free throws to pull the Spartans back within two, Keith Appling was called for a foul on Napier's 3-point attempt. The senior extended the lead to 56-51, and after Travis Trice missed a 3, Michigan State couldn't get to UConn to foul. Phillip Nolan slipped free for a dunk that clinched the victory and had thousands of Huskies fans in the Garden leaping up and down.

UConn won its third national title in 2011, but the Huskies were ineligible for last year's tournament because of previous low scores on the NCAA's academic progress measure.

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