New Mexico-UConn Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 19, 2012
The last time Connecticut played New Mexico, coach Jim Calhoun was guiding the Huskies to their first national title. It didn't appear that rookie coach Kevin Ollie would be leading the 23rd-ranked Huskies into Monday night's championship of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but that's exactly where they'll be after the guard duo of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright helped them dig out of a late hole. With a berth in the regional semifinals at stake, top-seeded Connecticut defeated New Mexico 78-56 on March 13, 1999, en route to the first of three NCAA tournament titles (2004, 2011) under Calhoun. Calhoun retired after last season's disappointing 20-14 campaign, so Ollie is now running a program that has a chance to open 5-0 for the third consecutive season. The Huskies, the 2008 Paradise Jam champs, have the opportunity to become the first two-time winner of this event following an 89-83 double-overtime victory over Quinnipiac in Sunday's second semifinal. Connecticut trailed by 10 with less than five minutes to play, but Boatright and Napier scored the team's final 16 points of regulation. Boatright finished with 18 points and Napier poured in 23 of his career-high 29 in the final 3:24 of regulation and two overtime periods to help the Huskies win their 67th straight against in-state opponents. "It was a hard-fought victory,'' said Ollie, whose team matched a program record with 39 free throws made. "My hats off to the guys in the locker room, they played hard. It was just a gut-check win for us.'' The Lobos' path into the championship might be even more impressive given the late deficit Kendall Williams and Tony Snell helped them overcome in the semifinals. They are in the title game in large part to their season-best nine 3s in Sunday's 70-69 victory over George Mason. Trailing by five, New Mexico (3-0) pulled out the improbable win with a 3-pointer by Williams with 11.9 seconds left, a steal by Williams and a Snell 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds to play. Williams, who had a career-best 23 points in Friday's 66-59 first-round victory over Illinois-Chicago, scored 14 while Snell hit four 3s and finished with a career-high 27. "We found a way to win," coach Steve Alford told the school's official website. "We made two unbelievable plays down the stretch and now we get a chance to play in the championship." The Lobos are off to their best start since opening with 12 wins in 2009-10, but they still have plenty of room for improvement. One of those areas is perimeter defense, as their opponents have hit 32 3-pointers in 79 attempts (40.5 percent). "We just need to work on closing out," Snell said. Connecticut is shooting just 27.1 percent (16 for 59) from beyond the arc. The Huskies are also struggling on the boards, getting outrebounded 44-35 on Sunday and by an average of 8.7 in their four wins overall.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker