Shabazz Napier scored 25 points, including a clutch 3-pointer and many free throws late, and Connecticut upset Michigan State to advance to the Final 4, 60-54. Connecticut, the first No. 7 seed to advance to the Final Four in 30 years (Virginia, 1984), can thank the NCAA Tournament seeding committee for the home game at Madison Square Garden. The boisterous crowd was heavily pro-UConn, and definitely helped the Huskies rally in the second half, erasing an 8-point deficit to grab a 10-point lead late.
Napier, who was 9-for-9 from the line, has done an incredible Kemba Walker impersonation in this tournament. He’s automatic from the foul line, virtually unguardable on the perimeter and so deadly from beyond the arc (4-of-9 Sunday). Napier and UConn will face Florida next weekend in Dallas in the Final Four. They met earlier this season in Connecticut and the Huskies won a buzzer beater on by – who else? – Napier.
Michigan State, the overwhelming favorite to win the title according to the pundits when the seeds were released, struggled offensively in the second half after taking a 32-23 lead. Napier scored nine points and somehow, that Spartans lead turned into a 41-36 deficit. Michigan State would never lead again. The Spartans pulled within 53-51 in the final minute, and then Napier hit three free throws to ice it.
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