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Post-game breakdown, video: Florida

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: theday.com

Published April 05. 2014 11:00PM   Updated April 06. 2014 12:07AM

The two national semifinal games are over here at AT&T Stadium.

UConn will play Kentucky for the national championship on Monday night.

The two teams last met in the 2011 national semifinals, with the Huskies winning 56-55 on their way to earning the national title.

Seventh-seeded UConn beat top-seeded Florida, 63-53, in the first semifinal on Saturday while eighth-seeded Kentucky nipped Wisconsin, 74-73. The Wildcats are 29-10.

The Huskies (31-8) stopped the Gators' winning streak at 30. They beat Florida on Dec. 2 in Storrs.

Check out the attached video of senior Niels Giffey's post-game remarks in the locker room.

Kentucky coach John Calipari had this to say about UConn and coach Kevin Ollie: "First of all, how about the job Kevin Ollie has done with that program. Incredible, incredible.

"I coached him in Philly, so I know him. He's the greatest young man, and a terrific coach, and he's done great stuff.

"I don't know anything about (UConn). The issue now is I've gotta be up all night watching tape and getting ready for them. I know their guards are good, and I recruited a bunch of their guys. I know how good they are, but I don't know how they play."

UConn improved to an impressive 7-1 in Final Four games. Senior DeAndre Daniels led the way with game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (10). Junior Ryan Boatright scored 13 points and played terrific defense on senior Scottie Wilbekin, who scored just four points.

A tenacious defense and efficient offensive carried the Huskies to the program's fourth national championship game. They held Florida to 38.8 percent from the field and shot a torrid 55.8 percent.

The Huskies trailed 16-4 and then out-scored the Gators, 27-6, to take control.

"They stay in the middle of the ring and they keep throwing punches," coach Kevin Ollie said. "When everybody counts us out, thinking we're on the mat, they just believe. They just keep fighting.

"I didn't think it was one of our better games and I think Connecticut certainly had a lot to do with that," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

UConn plays a Kentucky team that Florida beat three times this season.

Both UConn and Kentucky didn't qualify for the NCAA tournament last season. The Huskies sat out because of a post-season ban and the Wildcats played in the NIT.

The last time that two teams that failed to play in the NCAA tournament met in the championship game was 1966 when Kentucky played Texas Western.

A Final Four record crowd of 79,444 watched the games.

By rallying from a 12-point deficit against Florida, UConn tied for the fourth largest comeback in national semifinal history.

Sophomore Phil Nolan on the comeback: "It's not the first time during the season that we have been down. We just kept our heads, came together and made sure we came back. We stayed consistent and tried to play as hard as we could. It just fell into place for us."

Senior Shabazz Napier, who came into the game averaging 23.3 points in the NCAA tournament, scored 12 points and also had six assists and four steals.

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