The Connecticut Huskies are “Top Dog” in college basketball for 2011. They defeated the Butler Bulldogs in Houston, Texas, Monday night by a score of 53-41 to win the Division 1 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
This was Coach Jim Calhoun’s third National Title, with the first being in 1999. UConn’s suffocating defense magnified Butler’s poor shooting throughout the low scoring affair. Butler shot 12-64 (18.8%) from the field setting a record for the worst shooting performance in history by a team in the national title game. Butler only hit 8 of 14 free throw attempts and turned the ball over 6 times. Kemba Walker led the charge for the Huskies scoring 16 points as well as adding 9 assists. UConn also got a strong contribution from Alex Oriakhi. The 6-foot-9 sophomore posted a double-double, scoring 11 points and assisting on 11 baskets.
The First half of the 2011 National Championship game was disappointing to say the least. Both teams played at a low tempo and shot extremely sloppy. Butler shot 22% in the first half, and still led the Huskies 22-19 at halftime. The Bulldogs held superstar Kemba Walker to only 7 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
Both Teams came out shooting in the second half exchanging 3-point attempts. After 6 minutes of play to open the second half, Connecticut jumped out to a 31-26 lead and didn’t look back. Despite only hitting one 3-pointer the entire game, the Huskies offense came alive scoring 34 points in the last 20 minutes.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Reaching The Finals
The Cinderella story, that was the VCU Rams, came to an end when they met up with Butler in the first National Semi-Final game on Saturday evening. The Bulldogs dominated the game when it mattered most, hitting big shot after big shot down the stretch. Butler had their way with VCU defensively over the last 7 minutes of the game, dominating play down low. The biggest difference was Butler converting 16 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points. Shelvin Mack of Butler finished with 24 points as the Bulldogs reached their second consecutive National Final.
In the second National Semi-Final the UConn Huskies held off Kentucky 56-55 with 18 points and 7 assists by Kemba Walker. Shabazz Napier made two free throw shots to put Connecticut up 56-52 with 2 seconds left in the game. Brandon Knight hit a meaningless 3-pointer at the final buzzer to end Kentucky’s season and send the Huskies to the National Championship game.