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2024 Men's Final Four

UConn advances to second-straight National Championship, defeats Alabama 86-72

© Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Driven by projected 2024 NBA lottery draft picks Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan, No. 1 seeded UConn defeated No. 4 Alabama 86-72 during their Final Four matchup at State Farm Stadium.

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Castle led the Huskies (36-3) with 21 points, 13 of which were in the first half. Clingan finished with 18 points, five rebounds, and four blocks.

Mark Sears highlighted Alabama’s offense with 24 points.

Bama’s second-half struggles

After trailing by just four points at halftime, Alabama (25-12) could not keep up with the defending champions.

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The Huskies played their brand of basketball and have been nearly unstoppable when doing so over the last two seasons. They turned the ball over just four times and totaled 20 assists as a team.

Including Castle and Clingan, UConn’s entire starting lineup scored double-digit points.

Alabama’s senior big man Grant Nelson had a monster game, finishing with 19 points and 15 rebounds while facing Clingan.

Despite the loss, Sears continued to do what he’s done over the last two weeks. The 6-foot-1 senior averaged 24.2 points per game on 53/46/83 shooting through five tournament games.

Sears entered the NBA Draft last year but withdrew, ultimately making the right decision amid this magical run. His stock remains as high as ever.

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Considering they are the nation’s No. 1 offense and averaged 90 ppg entering Saturday, holding the Crimson Tide to 72 points is an accomplishment that UConn head coach Dan Hurley and his team should be proud of.

Key Stats

UConn: 37 total rebounds, 20 assists, 4 turnovers

Alabama: 29 total rebounds, 9 assists, 7 turnovers


UConn: Field goals: 31-62 (50.0%), 3 Pointers: 10-25 (40.0%), Free throws: 14-18 (77.8%)

Alabama: Field goals: 26-58 (44.8%), 3 Pointers: 11-23 (47.8%), Free throws: 9-11 (81.8%)


National Championship stage set

UConn will now faceoff against fellow No. 1 seed Purdue.

After defeating NC State, the Boilermakers (34-4) are headed to their first National Championship since 1969.

Purdue’s second-half dominance outlasts NC State in Final Four, win 63-50

Led by 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, Purdue has been a handful for opponents this season.

The Huskies and Boilermakers have been the two most dominant teams in the nation. Edey and Clingan will be an incredible matchup to watch.

This potentially sets up one of the most anticipated National Championship games in recent history.

Tip-off is set for Monday, April 8 at 6:20 p.m. MST and will again be played at the Arizona Cardinals’ own State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

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Saleh Awwad is a writer/reporter covering the Arizona State Sun Devils, Phoenix High School Sports, and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @SalehAwwad_

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