Okafor powered UConn to victory
Emeka Okafor notched 24 points and 15 rebounds to help Connecticut defeat Georgia Tech 82-73 to claim its second National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship since 1999.
Okafor scored five points during a 9-3 run to open the
second half as Connecticut (33-6) increased a 15-point halftime lead to 50-29 with under 17 minutes left in the game.
Georgia Tech, seeking the first basketball championship in its history, never got closer than seven points the rest of the
The Yellow Jackets were led in scoring by Will Bynum's 17 points and BJ Elder's 14.
Georgia Tech (28-10) had trouble containing Connecticut's attack as the Huskies led 41-26 at intermission, the third largest half-time advantage in title game history.
Ben Gordon, a 6-foot-3 junior, hit three of six three-point attempts before intermission and all five of his free throws.
With Gordon hitting jump shots from the perimeter, the
Yellow Jackets's defence loosened up on Okafor inside, and the 6-foot-10 junior centre finished the first half with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Georgia Tech's shooting woes in the opening half were
pivotal as the Yellow Jackets made only 10 of 34 shots from the floor, including two of 10 from three-point range.
To make matters worse, Georgia Tech hit 4 of 11 free throws before intermission.
Connecticut's victory was its first NCAA basketball
championship since the Huskies beat Duke 77-74 in 1999.