Connecticut 53 Butler 41
In a season in which the most recently dominant team - the UConn women's team - was ousted from their final game, the UConn men picked up the banner and carried it proudly to the men's national championship, the third for coach Jim Calhoun since 1999.
Connecticut took control midway through the second half, mostly due to the effort of freshman Jeremey Lamb whose steal and dunk with 13:38 to play, gave the Huskies a 5-point lead.
Lamb scored again and his alley-oop bucket from Shabazz Napier put the Huskies up 37-28 at the 11:00 minute mark. It was all UConn thereafter, expanding their lead to 14 points when Alex Oriaki completed a three-point play with 5:48 remaining. The game was essentially over at that point.
Shelvin Mack hit two straight 3-pointers with just under two minutes to play, but Kemba Walker ended the game with four straight free throws and the 53-41 final score, the lowest point total by a champion since 1949.
The Husky defense can also take pride in holding Butler to 18.8 shooting, an NCAA finals record.
At the end of a contentious half of basketball, Shelvin Mack's 3-pointer at the buzzer game the Bulldogs a 22-19 lead. Due to the defensive intensity neither team was distinguished shooting from the field.
The Huskies led with 24% (9-37) shooting. Butler shot just 21% from the field in the first half (6-28) UConn held a 20-17 rebounding edge, but Butler had seven offensive boards to Connecticut's five.
Butler hit 5 of 15 3-pointers; UConn was 0-7 in the first half from beyond the stripe.
Kemba Walker and Shelvin Mack each had 7 first half points to lead their teams.
Player of the game was Alex Oriakhi, with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and stellar defense inside. Butler scored their only points in the paint for the entire game with 6:05 left to play when Andrew Smith got loose for a layup.
The Huskies tied an NCAA championship game record with 10 blocked shots. Kemba Walker led all scorers with 16 points. Lamb had 12, all in the second half.
For Butler, Mack was the high scorer, with 13 points. For senior Matt Howard, his final game as a Bulldog will leave permanent bad memories. Howard was 1-for-13, scoring seven points, his lowest output since a 6-point effort against Marian, in Butler's first game of the season, on November 13, 2010.
At 68, coach Calhoun set another record. He became the oldest coach to win a national championship. He joins Mike Krzyzewski, Adolph Rupp, John Wooden and Bobby Knight as the only coaches to ever win three or more national titles.
The Huskies ended their regular season by losing four of their last five, finishing up with a 9-9 record in the Big East and 21-9 record overall. In tournament play, however, UConn had no equal. They won the Maui Invitational in December with three straight wins, then won the Big East tournament with five wins in five days. Their six straight in the NCAA tourney, stretched their winning streak to 11 games. They went the entire season without losing to any team outside the Big East, at 32-9.
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