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UConn takes home its fifth NCAA Championship

The+San+Diego+State+Aztecs+and+the+University+of+Connecticut+Huskies+are+set+to+face+off+tonight+at+6%3A20+p.m.+in+Houston%2C+Texas.+Photo+courtesy+of+Wikipedia+Commons+
The San Diego State Aztecs and the University of Connecticut Huskies are set to face off tonight at 6:20 p.m. in Houston, Texas. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

In a lopsided affair, the game favorite University of Connecticut Huskies (UConn) (31-8, Mountain West 15-3) defeated the San Diego State Aztecs (32-7, Big East 13-7) 76-59 in the 2023 NCAA National Championship Monday, April 3 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. 

UConn dominated the court racking up 41 rebounds, 13 assists 13 turnovers. The Huskies limited the Aztec to a 32 percent field goal percentage, seven assists and 15 offensive rebounds. At the halfway point, it became clear that the Aztecs had a tough hill to climb as the team found itself down 36-24 at the end of the first half. This, despite taking a 10-6 lead in the opening minutes of the game. San Diego State would then go 11 minutes without scoring a single field goal missing 14 consecutive shots. In that time, UConn took charge with its biggest lead marked at 16 points.  

In the final minutes of the second half, the Aztecs started mounting a comeback edging the game to five points with just over five minutes. Unfortunately for San Diego State, UConn sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins nailed a three pointer which opened a 9-0 run for the Huskies sealing the game. 

El Paso’s own senior guard Tristen Newton noted 19 points, 10 boards and a double-double leading the Huskies to victory. Behind Newton was junior forward Adama Sanogo with 17 points, 10 rebounds and one assist. Sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins also added 16 points to the win over the Aztecs. 

Leading the Aztecs in points was senior forward Keshad Johnson with only 14. Both junior guard Lamont Butler and senior guard Darrion Trammell posted 13 points for San Diego State. 

This game would also mark the final time legendary broadcaster Jim Nantz would call the tournament. Nantz, who also calls football and gold, had called the Final Four for 32 years, but decided to depart to enjoy time with his family, per the New York Post. Nantz plans to continue his duties for the Masters and the NFL.  

“I got to live out my dream because of college basketball,” Nantz told CBS Sports. “Sure, I was a golfer, and I went to Houston to be on the golf team. But really, I went to Houston to study communications and try to figure out a way to get trained to hopefully one day be noticed by CBS. That was what the goal was: to work for CBS.” 

This would be the lowest viewed NCAA Championship with only 14.69 million viewers tuning into watch according to the Associated Press. This did not stop UConn from celebrating its basketball stardom as head coach Dan Hurley spoke to a crowd of thousands of fans inside the team’s home arena Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. 

“This is a big deal,” Hurley said. “The NCAA tournament is a big deal. Playing in the Final Four is a big deal. And obviously basketball is a big deal to the people of Connecticut. Men’s and women’s basketball, it’s the pro sports team of the state, and you just see the incredible pride that people have in their Huskies.” 

 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram 

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About the Contributor
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
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UConn takes home its fifth NCAA Championship