UConn Huskies win NCAA Championship

The men's basketball squad rode a second-half surge to beat the Butler Bulldogs and claim the March Madness crown

Topics: Basketball, Sports,

UConn Huskies win NCAA ChampionshipConnecticut's Kemba Walker holds the net after his team won the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game against Butler 53-41 Monday, April 4, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Credit: AP)

Connecticut’s great second half in the national championship game started with some words in the locker room from coach Jim Calhoun.

“The halftime speech was rather interesting,” said Calhoun, who has been known to use his loud voice and some salty language to get his point across to his team. “We knew we could really defend them. … The major adjustment was we were going to out-will them and outwork them, and eventually we outplayed them.”

The Huskies answered their coach’s demands by holding Butler to 16.2 percent shooting in the second half of their 53-41 victory Monday night that made Calhoun just the fifth coach to win three national titles.

The Bulldogs shot a Final Four-record low 18.8 percent from the field (12 of 64). The 12 field goals were the second-fewest ever in a championship game.

It wasn’t as if the Huskies were lighting up the scoreboard themselves. They shot 34.5 percent for the game (19 of 55) but made 10 of 24 shots in the second half (41.7 percent).

“Sometimes shots don’t go in, and that’s basketball,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “But I don’t want to just say shots didn’t go in, because UConn had a lot to do with it. … Great teams give themselves a chance to win even when they’re not shooting well, as UConn did.”

Shelvin Mack hit a 3-pointer with less than a second to play in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 22-19 lead, and Chase Stigall hit a 3 just 22 seconds into the second half to put Butler up by six. After that, it was all UConn.

Butler managed five field goals the rest of the way.

The Huskies have always been defensive-minded under Calhoun, but this was above and beyond what anyone could expect.

Calhoun didn’t just get his team going defensively with the halftime speech.

“Going into halftime, I didn’t have any points. My teammates just encouraged me, saying, ‘We need you.’ My coach just encouraged me, saying, ‘We need you. Pick it up,’” said freshman Jeremy Lamb, who finished with 12 points. “After I saw it go in a couple times, I got my confidence back and knocked down a couple shots.”

His teammates were knocking away Butler’s shots. The Huskies finished with 10 blocked shots, four each by freshman Roscoe Smith and sophomore Alex Oriakhi.

“I thought they challenged shots better than any team we played all year,” Stevens said.

Connecticut had been one of the best defensive teams in terms of field goal percentage over the past decade, leading the country in that statistic three times in the last seven years.

“We made some technical adjustments, switching some things we don’t normally switch, to chase them off the 3-point line,” Calhoun said, referring to Butler making five 3s in the first half. “And I ended (the halftime talk with) something my assistant told me, ‘You’re better than this.’

“I said, ‘If you play faster on defense, we’ll get faster on offense.’ And quite frankly, it worked out like that.”

Butler had two long stretches without a field goal in the second half. The first lasted 7:07 and the Bulldogs missed 13 shots during that span as Connecticut took a 33-26 lead.

The second lasted 6:09 and they missed nine shots in that one as the Huskies went ahead 41-28.

“They’re a great defensive team,” said Shelvin Mack, who led Butler with 13 points and was the Bulldogs’ only double-figure scorer. “They’re very athletic. They would contest shots that people normally wouldn’t be able to contest.”

Years from now people will see the final score and say it had to be a great defensive effort.

It was. For one team for one half after one heck of a halftime speech.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>