UConn’s dynamic duo outplays Kentucky’s twins

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Connecticut’s experienced backcourt made Kentucky’s guards look like, well, freshmen in the national championship game.

Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright outplayed the Harrison twins from start to finish Monday night.

“Whatever you’ve got to do, you’ve got to do it,” said Napier, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. “We’ve got a saying: ‘The only way we’re going to leave this floor with a loss is in a box.’”

Napier, a senior who was a role player on UConn’s last title team in 2011, had 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in the Huskies’ 60-54 victory. Junior Ryan Boatright added 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Together, they were simply too much for the Wildcats (29-11) to handle.

“They were not going to let us take this game from them,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Many thought it would be the other way around, with brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison carrying the Wildcats to a second title in the last three years.

But the twins were mostly missing in the tournament finale at AT&T; Stadium.

Aaron Harrison, who hit so many huge shots to get Kentucky to the title game, finished with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He also had three turnovers and no assists. Andrew Harrison was slightly better, scoring eight points to go along with five rebounds, five assists and four turnovers.

The play of the Harrisons contributed to Kentucky trailing most of the night, and Connecticut stepped up whenever the Wildcats made a charge.

“When you do have good guards that can control the game, it’s hard for you to come back because they can hold the ball and wait till run 35 seconds off the clock then make a tough shot,” Aaron Harrison said. “It’s pretty hard for you to come back like that.”

It wasn’t the first time Napier and Boatright outplayed the opposing backcourt. Not this year. Not in this NCAA tournament. Not even in the Final Four.

UConn’s dynamic duo shut down Florida guards Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier in the semifinals. Wilbekin, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, had four points on 2-of-9 shooting Saturday night. Wilbekin also finished with just one assist and three turnovers.

Frazier hit a 3-pointer off the opening tip, and then was shut out the rest of the way in UConn’s 63-53 victory.

Napier and Boatright were equally disruptive against Kentucky’s bigger backcourt.

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