2023 March Madness: UConn defeats San Diego State in the national championship game

(CNN) The University of Connecticut won an award Fifth national title for men’s basketball With a 76-59 win over San Diego State University Monday night at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Senior guard Tristen Newton led Ocon (31-8) with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Final Four Most Valuable Player Adama Sanogo, a young forward, scored 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“We weren’t in the rankings going into the year, so we had the chip on our shoulders,” OConn head coach Dan Hurley told CBS. “We knew the level we could play at, even during those tough times,” he said. He added, pointing to the team Six defeats in eight matches during the regular season.

Going into the tournament, he said, his group had the confidence it had gained during the season.

“And when you have the kind of leaders like Andre Jackson (six assists on Monday) and Adama Sanogo, they kept this team together, got us back on track and we knew we were the best team in the tournament, and we just had to play at our level.”

San Diego State (32-7) leads Kechad Johnson with 14 points.

UConn’s Adama Sanogo shoots against San Diego State’s Nathan Mensah during the first half of the title game.

UConn trailed very early, but San Diego State trailed by 11 minutes and eight seconds as they scored only five free throws and missed 12 straight shots from the court. The Huskies fell from 10-6 to 36-24 at halftime.

The Aztecs took a lead midway through the second period and cut the lead to five at 60-55 with 5:19 to play but the Huskies scored the next nine to take a comfortable lead going into the final two minutes.

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“I just want to thank my teammates and coaches who believed in me,” Sanogo told CBS. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here now.”

UConn won each of its six tournament games by at least 10 points, with the closest game coming to it being a 13-point victory over the University of Miami in the national semifinals.

UConn enters rarefied air as only the sixth team to win five NCAA men’s basketball championships, joining UCLA (11), Kentucky (eight), North Carolina (six), Duke (five) and Indiana (five). All of UConn’s titles have come since 1999 and the most recent was Monday Before in 2014.

UConn’s women’s teams have won 11 basketball national titles.

CNN’s Steve Almasy and Essie Ronald contributed to this report.

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