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Hawkins, Newton and Sanogo lead UConn in 76-59 win over San Diego State; Huskies win 5th NCAA Title

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

POSTED: April 4, 2023 -- 8:51 a.m. CT

The UConn Huskies (31-8) defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 76-59 Monday night to complete its dominant march through the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and earn UConn its 5th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

"Obviously, a dream come true for all of us," Danny Hurley, UConn Head Coach said after the game. "It was a part of the program -- we sold the vision. I sold the vision to David Benedict and President Herbst and President Radanka and the university that I could put together a special group of people, coaching staff, unbelievable players like this."

UConn big man Adama Sanogo finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Sanogo was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 NCAA Men's Tournament.

San Diego State (32-7) made 2 three-point shots early and led UConn 10-6 less than 4 minutes into the game. The Aztecs did not make a single field goal the next 11 minutes. Layups rolled off the rim. Jump shots were short.

While the Aztecs struggled to make baskets, UConn scored 10 in a row to lead 16-10 at the 11-minute mark. The Huskies led 26-14 after UConn's Jordan Hawkins hit a three-point shot.

San Diego State guard Darrion Trammell made a jumper in the paint with 5:25 on the game clock. Trammell's basket was the Aztecs first made field goal in exactly 11 minutes. Moments later, Trammell was part of a sequence which summed up the first half: Trammell stole the ball; drove down court; his layup attempt rolled slowly off the rim and UConn answered with a 3-point basket by Joey Calcaterra.

UConn led 36-20 after Calcaterra's 3-point bucket. The Huskies went scoreless the final 3 plus minutes in the first half; but, the Aztecs only scored 4 points in the closing 3 minutes and trailed 36-24 at halftime.

Tristen Newton scored 9 points in the first half to lead 7 other UConn players in scoring. Hawkins and Sanogo each scored 7 first half points.

San Diego State started the second half with more aggression; but, UConn kept SDSU at arms' length the first 10 minutes of the half. UConn led by double-digits until 8 minutes remained in the second half. The Huskies struggled to make field goals; but, San Diego State's aggression resulted in fouls which sent UConn to the free throw line 8 minutes into the second half.

The Huskies made their foul shots to maintain their lead. San Diego State trailed 56-41 before going on a 9-0 run to claw within 6 (56-50) with 7:40 left in the ball game.

Adama Sanogo tipped in a missed jumper by Tristen Newton to end the Huskies' scoring drought. Keshad Johnson split 2 free throws; but, Jordan Hawkins made 2 foul shots to extend UConn's lead to 60-51. Lamont Butler, the Aztecs' hero in Saturday's semifinal win over Florida Atlantic, made a driving layup and Johnson sank 2 free throws to cut UConn's lead to 5 (60-55) with 5:19 on the game clock.

Then, 15 seconds later, Jordan Hawkins hit a huge three-point shot at the top of the key to push UConn's lead to 63-55. The Aztecs never recovered.

"Coach drew something up for me," Hawkins said describing his big three-point bucket. "I know he trusted me to make that shot. I had to make it. Easy part. All credit to my teammates for getting me open on those screens and Coach for trusting me."

Tristen Newton made 2 free throws and a driving layup. Sanogo added 2 more free throws to increase the Huskies' lead to 69-55 with 2:08 to go in the game.

Newton finished the game with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Sanogo also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Hawkins added 16 points and 4 rebounds.

Sanogo, from Mali, draws strength from his family.

"I think my family is a major part of my success right now," Sanogo remarked. "Every time I do something, I think about them. They're the reason I go hard for this."

Hawkins and Newton joined Sanogo on the NCAA Men's Final Four All-Tournament Team.

"Great credit to the coaches and my teammates," Newton commented after the game. "The vision we had when I came here was to win a national championship, get to the Final Four and win a national championship. And I came here just to do that. And just real blessed and thankful for these guys around me."

Alijah Martin from Florida Atlantic and Lamont Butler from San Diego State were also named to the Men's Final Four All-Tournament Team.

Aztecs' head coach Brian Dutcher said, "We battled. Battled back to five in the second half, but gave them too much separation. We had to be at our best. We weren't at our best. A lot had to do with UConn.

"I'm proud of our guys. These guys have given me everything they had. Six years, five years, five years, five years. This is what all these guys are all about. It's about college athletics. They're good people, and they're good students, and they're really good players. We can feel good about the things we did."

Coach Hurley concluded his press conference saying, "The Big East was the best conference in the country this year. We were the most successful in the NCAA Tournament, and we have the national championship. So we were the best league in the country this year. And I don't think that's going to change. With the type of coaches that now have moved around, I don't think we're going anywhere. I know we're not."

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