ARLINGTON (AP) — Connecticut’s upperclassmen were too much for the kids of Kentucky.
Poised and experienced, UConn won its second national championship in four years, outlasting Kentucky and its stable of freshmen Monday night.
UConn(32-8) dominated early, withstood a big charge late in the first half and made all the clutch plays down the stretch of a 60-54 victory that made Kevin Ollie the first coach since Michigan’s Steve Fisher in 1989 to win a national title in his first NCAA tournament as coach.
Shabazz Napier, the dynamic senior point guard, led the way as he almost always does, finishing with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists to bookend his career with national titles.
Students at the University of Connecticut celebrated Monday night after their school’s 60-54 win over Kentucky.
More than 10,000 students who filled UConn’s Gampel Pavilion night to watch on large screens on the arena floor spilled outside to celebrate after the victory, the fourth national title for UConn.
UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said extra police, and ambulances were on campus to oversee the celebration and respond to any problems.
The school also hired a disc jockey and planned a dance party on the plaza across the street in an effort to keep crowds of students under control.
UConn students began lining up outside Gampel Pavilion more than four hours before the game to get a good seat to watch on television.
“The game on Saturday, the line was literally two blocks down,” said Stephano Luzzi, 20, a junior from New Haven. “We could barely see the screens, this time we want to be sure we’re up front.”
Students said they expect the party to go on into the early morning hours and said it may be especially loud outside the North Campus residence hall, where an email from a resident assistant bent on enforcing quiet hours went viral on Monday.
School officials confirmed the authenticity of the email, but said it was actually sent out to residents of the RA’s floor on Saturday, before the national semifinals. But it began getting wide circulation on social media sites on Monday.
The student, identified in the email only as “Derek” wrote that students partying because of a name on the front of a basketball jersey would be “cheering for laundry.”
“Midnight quiet hours still apply here,” he wrote. “So responsibly go nuts elsewhere.”
“He’s going to eat his words by the end of the night,” said Mitchell Goodwin, 19, a sophomore from New Haven. “Nobody’s going to get too crazy, but this whole campus is going to come together tonight.”
Storrs wasn’t the only place preparing for a party. Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley said there would be an increased police presence at popular night spots there as well to get ahead of the celebration.
Insurance company Aetna said it would be illuminating the cupola on top of its Hartford headquarters in blue and white lights both Monday and Tuesday in support of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The undefeated women play for a record ninth national title Tuesday in Nashville.
The Husky teams are now a combined 12-0 in NCAA championship games.
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