By Gina Miranda |Staff Writer|
The UCONN Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats for the 2014 NCAA men’s Basketball Championship winning their second champion title in three years.
The Huskies were able to clench the title with a 60-54 victory over Kentucky during Monday night’s final in Arlington, Texas.
The Huskies are one of six schools in NCAA history to claim four championship titles.
UCONN was the seventh seed going into Monday night’s final, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright led the Huskies to victory with a combined performance earning 36 points, ten rebounds, and six assists during the game.
Husky guard and second leading scorer Boatright suffered a potentially game ending ankle sprain with nine minutes left in the game. He cringed in pain before forcing the Huskies to call a time out.
“I just tied my shoe tighter,” said Boatright. “That’s all you can do when you roll an ankle.”
The Huskies have come a long way. Just last year they were banned from competing in the NCAA Championship due to academics.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the hungry Huskies, this is what happens when you ban us,” said Napier as part of his Championship celebration.
The Wildcats went into the championship game with a freshman starting lineup.
The Huskies faced one of the youngest teams in NCAA history, and their frustration and fatigue nearly cost them the victory.
The emotional frustration showed when Napier pushed his teammate in the middle of an offensive play and some heated words were exchanged.
However, they redeemed themselves and came together to defeat The Wildcats. Senior point guard Napier was the leading scorer for the Huskies with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists. He was also named Most Outstanding Player of The Final Four.
At the end of each season, several players are left to contemplate their futures in basketball.
The nation’s top ranked basketball players can continue their education with their Alma mater or declare for 2014 NBA draft.
Napier, a two time NCAA Champion and a decelerated senior at UCONN now faces the bittersweet end of his college basketball career.
Napier tugged at his school jersey, while uttering to his teammates, “I told you,” a premonition he saw early on in the season, that together they would be champions.
In his second year as a head coach at UCONN, Kevin Ollie did the impossible. and led his team to the NCAA Championship.
“Everybody said we were over with. Those guys have been through so much. When it was dark days, they still played together.
And now we’re in the light and it’s real good to see the emotions on those kids’ faces because they’re the ones who stuck in and believed. A lot of other people didn’t,” said Ollie.
The Huskies have proven to themselves and the rest of the country that they were the team above all teams, and leave their place in basketball history.