NEW YORK -- Shabazz Napier owed UConn. He could have transferred when academic sanctions barred the Huskies from the NCAA tournament his junior season. But the guard wanted to pay back the school for the joy of a national title his freshman year, for his struggles as a sophomore. Napier sure did that Sunday, carrying UConn back to the Final Four in front of thousands of roaring Huskies fans at Madison Square Garden. He scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half in a 60-54 upset of fourth-seeded Michigan State. The East Regionals most outstanding player hit three huge free throws with 30.6 seconds left, making clutch shot after clutch shot just as Kemba Walker did when Napier was a freshman. The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. "His will to win -- you could just see it," said Gary Harris, who led Michigan State with 22 points. "He wasnt going to let his team lose." The Spartans seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to make a Final Four. "As the game got closer and closer to ending, it was on my mind a lot, every huddle," said big man Adreian Payne, who had 13 points and nine rebounds but was repeatedly pushed to the perimeter by UConns defenders. The undersized Huskies matched Michigan States physical play box-out for box-out, holding the Spartans (29-9) to just six offensive rebounds and six points in the paint. "Were physical, too," said second-year coach Kevin Ollie, who is now 4-0 in the NCAA tournament after replacing mentor Jim Calhoun. "Dont get it mixed up. We are predators out there." UConn dared Michigan State to shoot 3-pointers, and the Spartans nearly made enough, going 11 for 29 from behind the arc. Harris was 4 for 9 on 3s, but his teammates were a combined 10 for 32 from the floor. Trailing 51-49 with more than two minutes left, Michigan State had a chance to tie or take the lead. Payne threw the ball away, and Napier drilled a jumper on the other end. After Paynes free throws pulled the Spartans back within two, Keith Appling was whistled for a foul -- the fifth on Michigan States other senior starter -- for contact with Napier on a 3-point attempt. Napier extended the lead to 56-51, and after Travis Trice missed a 3, Phillip Nolan slipped free for a dunk that clinched the victory. "We got what we deserved today," Izzo said. "I tried to tell these guys that, when you get to the tournament, you got to bring it every second. And today Connecticut did, and we just kind of werent as good as we have been." Ryan Boatright made four steals as Michigan State committed 16 turnovers. Some were caused by UConns quickness, others by poor decisions by the Spartans. Izzo thought his team, a popular pick to win it all after finally getting healthy in March, looked tired. DeAndre Daniels shut down Branden Dawson, who scored 24 points in Michigan States Sweet 16 win over top-seeded Virginia. Dawson attempted just three field goals, making one, to finish with five points. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Payne hit two long jumpers to put Michigan State up 32-23 less than four minutes into the second half. But Napier started driving, getting the bigger Appling in foul trouble and UConn back in the game. "When Coach looks at me a certain way, I just know I got to be more aggressive," said Napier, who passed Ray Allen for fourth on the Huskies all-time scoring list with 1,925 points. After hitting four straight free throws to tie the score at 32 with 12:38 left, Napier was struck in the face by Harris -- the UConn guard was called for a foul on the play -- and left the court with his nose gushing blood. He was back less than a minute later when Daniels completed a three-point play to give the Huskies the lead for good. Boatrights contested 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down put UConn up 49-39 with less than seven minutes left. The Huskies won their third national title in 2011, but they were ineligible for last years tournament because of previous low scores on the NCAAs academic progress measure. They face Florida in the national semifinals Saturday, and theyll be confident they can beat the No. 1 overall seed. The Gators have won 30 straight, but their last loss was to UConn, 65-64 on Dec. 2. After the Huskies were routed 81-48 by Louisville in the regular-season finale, Ollie showed his players video of that victory to remind them of what happens when they play frenetic defence. "Were going to be well prepared, because I know about these guys heart," Ollie said. "Thats what got us through: It was a heart of a champion, heart of a lion." Nikola Jokic Jersey
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.com) - The Ottawa Senators will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they face the Chicago Blackhawks who are trying to secure their place in the post-season.MONTREAL - Nothing is getting past Carey Price these days.The star goaltender made 36 saves for his second shutout in a row as the Montreal Canadiens got a Max Pacioretty goal at 3:08 of overtime to defeat the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.It was a repeat of Montreals last game Thursday night against the Rangers in New York, when Price got the shutout and Pacioretty scored the game-winner late in another 1-0 win.It was a fifth win in a row for the surging Canadiens (32-13-3), while the Capitals (25-14-10) moved to 1-3-2 in their last six games. Montreal is 15-3-1 in its last 19 games.Were all making contributions, said Price. Its a team sport.Max made a big contribution at the end. Guys are all doing their part. Im relying on the guys around me and theyre relying on me. Right now, we have perfect harmony going.Price has been at the top of his game of late. He showed it midway through the first period with a spectacular glove save on a close-in shot from Brooks Laich.He did even better as the Canadiens took consecutive minors in the second frame, with a quick pad save on Troy Brouwer from the slot and glove save through traffic on Nicklas Backstrom. Alex Ovechkin, whose shift lasted 4:17, and John Carlson hit posts during the same sequence.But Prices teammate are getting used to seeing their goaltender keep them in games long enough to pull out wins.You get goose bumps when youre stepping out of the tunnel because you want to step up for him, Pacioretty said of Price. It sounds cheesy, but he really is the backbone of this team.When we let him down by giving up a chance thats not deserved and he makes a big save, I think we bear down a bit harder for him. It was a good example today. We left him out to dry a couple of times.Prices performance overshadowed some strong goalttending at the other end of the ice as well.dddddddddddd Braden Holtby, coming off a shutout win Wednesday over Pittsburgh, made 29 saves in another scoreless three periods only to be beaten on a perfectly executed play in overtime.Pacioretty went to the net to tip a Tomas Plekanec pass over Holtby for the winner.I thought both goaltenders played real good, said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. I thought we played a solid road game, we just couldnt find the back of the net.We hit three posts and had a number of good chances. I dont think we gave up a whole lot. I was pretty happy with the way we played.It was Montreals first win at home over Washington since a 6-5 overtime victory on Feb. 10, 2010. The Canadiens have not beaten the Caps in regulation time at the Bell Centre in the regular season since Jan. 10, 2009.Ovechkin led all players with eight shots on goal and led his team with 25:18 of ice time, but was unable to pick up his 30th goal of the season. His monster shift in the second frame was likely his best chance, as well as one where he cut to the inside, plowed through three Canadiens and got off a shot in the first period.Hes a beast when it comes to being on the ice, said Trotz. In the first period he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him.Montreal stays put to play Arizona while the Capitals return home to face St. Louis on Sunday afternoon.Notes: It is the 24th time since 1991 Montreal plays two afternoon games on Super Bowl weekend. They are 25-17-4-1 in those games and have swept both games five times, most recently in 2013.. . P.K. Subbans assist on Paciorettys goal was his 200th career point. . . Mike Weaver and Gabriel Dumont were scratched for Montreal, while Cameron Schilling and Andre Burakovsky didnt play for Washington. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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