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Adama Sanogo and UConn too much for Miami in NCAA Semifinal

2023 NCAA Men's Final Four logo 2023 NCAA Men's Final Four trophy

POSTED: April 2, 2023 -- 10:51 a.m. CT

The UConn Huskies (30-8) defeated the Miami Hurricanes 72-59 Saturday night in the second semifinal game of the 2023 NCAA Men's Final Four. UConn advances to Monday's championship game against the San Diego State Aztecs. San Diego State topped Florida Atlantic 72-71 in the earlier semifinal matchup.

UConn big man Adama Sanogo set the tone early in the game. Sanogo sank 2 three-point shots from the top of the key -- after teammate Jordan Hawkins opened the game with a three-point basket. UConn led Miami 9-0 less than 3 minutes into the game.

Coming into the game, Sanogo had made 17 three-point shots this season. After Miami scored 4 consecutive points, Sanogo scored a layup for 8 of UConn's first 11 points.

"Like, I know like guys, they don't expect my shots," Sanogo said of this three-pointers. "So, as soon as I saw him like dropping; and, I wait a second to see if he's going to close out, and he didn't close out, all right, this is my shot. I took my time, and I shoot it. Like for sure something that when I watch this game, they're going to be like -- they won't expect my shots, so make the game easy for me for sure."

Miami had no answer for the 6'9", 245-pound Sanogo.

"Obviously what we tried to do not only didn't work, I couldn't even recognize it," Miami Head Coach Jim Larranaga said after the game. "I think, again, offensively we were out of sync but defensively we were too. Everybody was playing so hard to guard their man, there was no help like we intended.

"So, they threw it over the top. He got a layup. They ran a ball screen. He rolled. He scored in that situation. He got offensive rebounds. He was blocking us out.

"So, he's a terrific player. I think he earned all of his points."

Miami (29-8) tied UConn at 19 on a Nijel Pack three-point basket; however, UConn's Joey Calcaterra scored a layup less than 30 seconds later. Then, Tristen Newton scored a driving layup before Sanogo scored another layup. Newton sank 2 free throws to extend UConn's run to 8-0 and stretch the Huskies' lead to 27-19.

Miami struggled to make shots in the first half and failed to capitalize on UConn's 7 first-half turnovers. Miami finished the half 9 for 36 (25.0 fg%).

UConn's Alex Karaban ended the first half swishing a wide-open three-point basket to give UConn a 37-24 halftime lead. Karaban's three-pointer was UConn's sixth 3 in the first half. The Huskies made 6 of 13 threes in the opening 20 minutes.

Sanogo (who else) scored 2 layups to begin the second half. UConn blitzed Miami with a 9-2 burst to lead 46-26 with 16 plus minutes to go in the second half.

Miami's offense heated up with 7 consecutive made field goals to cut UConn's lead to 53-45; but, UConn freshman big man Donovan Clingan scored a putback layup before Jordan Hawkins hit another three-point shot. Nahiem Alleyne knocked down a second-chance jumper to stretch UConn's lead to 60-45 with 8:33 remaining in the game.

Miami clawed within 10 points twice; and, in fact, had a chance to get within 7 or 8 points but Miami's Jordan Miller committed a turnover with under 5 remaining minutes which led to a second-chance basket by Alex Karaban.

The Huskies outscored the Canes 18-11 in second-chance points and 38-24 in the paint.

Sanogo finished the game with 21 points (9 for 11 field goals), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots.

After scoring 89 points in back-to-back wins in Kansas City to defeat 1-seed Houston and 2-seed Texas, Miami scored 59 points on 20 for 62 field goal shooting (32.3 fg%) against UConn.

UConn has won each of its first 5 games in this March to the championship game by double-digits.

"I think what we're doing -- when we're playing harder than the other team, which is our calling card, going like plus nine on the glass, playing elite defense and having a lot of answers on offense, there's nowhere where we're weak as a team, and we're deep," Danny Hurley, UConn Head Coach summarized after the win.

UConn faces San Diego State Monday, April 2, for the championship. Tip-off is set for 8:20 p.m. CT on CBS.

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