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Breaking down Monday’s NCAA championship game

Why UConn won: UConn stayed toe-to-toe on the boards with the more athletic Kentucky team, winning the rebound battle 34-33. The Huskies also forced the Wildcats into just 39.1 percent shooting from the field, including only 5-of-16 on 3-point attempts.

Key Player: Shabazz Napier proved why he is arguably the best player in the country. Whenever the Huskies needed a key basket or needed to maintain some poise, Napier was there to lead the way. Napier finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also was 4-of-9 from the 3-point line.

Key Stat: After the game was tied 6-6, UConn went on a brisk 24-9 run to assume a 30-15 lead. Kentucky rallied and got back in the game, but never could get closer than one point. Whenever it felt a threat, UConn would do just enough to hold off the Wildcats.

Notable

• A John Calipari team got bit by the free throw bug in a national championship game for the second time in seven years. In the 2008 title game between Calipari’s Memphis team and Kansas, Memphis was just 12-of-19 from the free-throw line. That included three misses in the final 16 seconds of regulation. Memphis then lost the game in overtime 75-68. On Monday, Kentucky was 13-of-24 from the free-throw line.



• UConn coach Kevin Ollie is the first African-American coach to win the national basketball title since Tubby Smith won it at Kentucky in 1998.



• UConn never trailed in this game. And it was only tied twice — 2-2 and 6-6. The Huskies displayed grace under pressure.



— Dwain Price

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