Wednesday, July 24, 2024

UConn strolls past Gonzaga 82-54, earns trip to Final Four

Jordan Hawkins matched his career high with six 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and UConn is advancing to the Final Four after steamrolling Gonzaga 82-54 on Saturday night in the West Region final at Las Vegas.

Alex Karaban added 12 points as the fourth-seeded Huskies (29-8) continued their domination of NCAA Tournament opponents. UConn has won its four games by an average of 22.5 points, including three by more than 20.

Adama Sanogo contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Huskies trailed for just 47 seconds.

Drew Timme had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Julian Strawther added 11 points for the third-seeded Bulldogs (31-6). Gonzaga had a 12-game winning streak halted while playing in the Elite Eight for the fifth time in the past eight tournaments.

The Final Four trip is the sixth overall for UConn and the first since it won the 2014 national championship.

The Huskies will face either second-seeded Texas or fifth-seeded Miami in the Final Four. Those clubs play Sunday in the Midwest Region final.

UConn is 15-0 this season against schools not in its conference (Big East).

The Huskies shot 41.7 percent from the field, including 11 of 31 from 3-point range.

The Bulldogs made 33.3 percent of their shots and were a lowly 2 of 20 from behind the arc.

Timme picked up two fouls in the first 2:22 of the second half and headed to the bench with four personals. Gonzaga trailed by 10 points when Timme took a seat with 17:38 remaining and things quickly got worse.

Sanogo scored on the inside, Hawkins drained a 3-pointer and Nahiem Alleyne converted a three-point play to give the Huskies a 52-34 advantage with 16:39 left.

Gonzaga’s Rasir Bolton drained a 3-pointer but UConn continued its charge with four points from Tristen Newton, a layup from Alleyne and a thunderous dunk by Donovan Clingan to boost its lead to 60-37 with 14:17 remaining.

Joey Calcaterra’s 3-pointer increased the lead to 65-40 with 11:49 left. Nearly four minutes later, Hawkins buried a trey to make it 75-44 with 7:53 to play.

The Bulldogs missed nine straight shots and 16 of 17 before Hunter Sallis drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 30 with 4:57 left.

The lead topped out at 33 points.

Karaban ended his 10-point first half with a 3-pointer just before time expired to give UConn a 39-32 halftime lead.

After Gonzaga’s second brief lead, the Huskies went on a 12-4 run to open up a seven-point lead and never trailed again.

Strawther and Timme each had nine first-half points for the Bulldogs.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller
FLM Direct-Baller
Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.
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