UConn now has five men’s basketball championships in the past 25 years.
The Huskies took advantage of a San Diego State scoring drought in the first half to jump out to a comfortable lead and then held on in the second half for a 76-59 win in Monday night’s national title game. The title is the first for UConn coach Dan Hurley and the school’s first since 2014.
Photo Cred NPR
UConn improved it to 5-0 in national championship game appearances. It helps the Huskies draw even with Duke and Indiana for the fourth-most all-time national championships with five and gives them the most this century, with four of their five coming since 2004. They have become a blue blood program in short order.
The Aztecs shot 29% from the field and had eight field goals and nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The result appeared predetermined, and the second half was a coronation. San Diego State cut the score to five points, but that wasn’t enough. Three different coaches have won UConn championships. Those are Jim Calhoun in 1999, 2004, and 2011, Kevin Ollie in 2014, and Hurley.
Photo Cred: NCAA
“We weren’t ranked going into the year, so we had the chip on our shoulder,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley told game broadcaster CBS. “We knew the level that we could play at, even though those dark times,” he added, referencing the team’s six losses in eight games during the regular season.
The 2023 season will be known as the year of Adama Sanogo, just as 2011 was the Kemba Walker year and 2014 was the Shabazz Napier year. After averaging 20.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in the tournament’s first five games, Sanogo, a junior center named the Most Outstanding Player, ended with 17 points and ten rebounds. Tristen Newton had 19 points, and Jordan Hawkins had 16 for the Huskies. The Aztecs had been able to force their will on opponents throughout the entire season.
Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports
UConn prevented that from happening. Hurley’s performance on Monday night marked the end of a five-year process that started in a different conference with a disinterested support base and a sub.500 season. All eight of UConn’s losses came to Big East opponents, and its eight losses to conference opponents are the most of any champion since UConn won the title in 2011 after losing nine Big East games.