The last time the Florida Gators lost was on Dec. 2, to the Connecticut Huskies. It seems only fitting that UConn ended Florida's 30-game winning streak, this time in the Final Four. The Huskies shocked the No. 1 overall seed Gators, 63-53, and now head to the championship game for the fourth time in school history.
It looked like the Gators would run away with this one early, jumping out to a 16-4 lead and bottling up star Shabazz Napier for much of the first half. However, the Huskies came to life and ripped off 11 unanswered points to erase the deficit. They took their first lead of the game with 3:18 left in the first half and took a 25-22 lead into halftime, finishing with a 21-6 run. Both teams played strong defense early on, but UConn's three-point shooting made the difference, draining 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Huskies picked up where they left off in the second half, opening up an eight-point lead thanks to Napier's second three-pointer of the night.
UConn got its first double-digit lead with 13 minutes as the Gators' shooting woes continued. DeAndre Daniels put an exclamation mark on the proceedings with this jam.
Casey Prather got the Gators back into the game, scoring two baskets in a row to cut the deficit to four points. Patric Young sunk two free throws to make it a one-possession game at the under-eight timeout, but UConn extended itslead back to seven when Napier stole the ball and dished it out to Ryan Boatright for an easy layup.
The Huskies poured it on down the stretch, going up by 10 points again thanks to an 8-1 run. Prather and Young kept Florida in it by scoring a combined 16 straight points, but their effort was not enough in the end.
Daniel led the Huskies with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Napier was quiet on the scoreboard, making just 3-of-6 shots, but he was a critical player down the stretch, finishing with four steals and six assists.
Scottie Wilbekin was Florida's breakout start of the tournament, but he couldn't get anything going against UConn's guards. Wilbekin managed just four points, shooting 2-of-9 from the floor. Young and Prather were the Gators' top scorers, recording 19 and 15 points, respectively. Florida shot 38.8 percent from the floor but were just 1-of-10 on three-pointers.