Recap: Indiana vs. Connecticut
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Shabazz Napier scored 27 points, including the go-ahead layup, and No. 18 Connecticut held on to capture the 2K Sports Classic with a 59-58 victory over Indiana on Friday night.
The lead changed hands seven times on seven straight baskets in a frenetic finish that saw Connecticut survive a couple of Indiana tries in the final seconds.
"It is not all about the buckets, but it is the leadership he brings. He didn't do that early in his career and now he is doing it," said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie.
Ryan Boatright had nine points for the Huskies (6-0), who sweated out two tight games in a row at Madison Square Garden. On Thursday night, Boatright blocked a shot at the buzzer to seal Connecticut's win over Boston College and get the Huskies into the final.
Yogi Ferrell scored 19 points to lead the Hoosiers (5-1) and Will Sheehey added 12.
Napier clanged into the lane for a layup and UConn's 59-58 lead with about 1 1/2 minutes left -- the seventh straight time the teams swapped the lead in three minutes.
Indiana's Devin Davis turned the ball over twice, but the Hoosiers got the ball back with 22.4 seconds left after Napier ran into Ferrell, sending the guard to the floor on an offensive foul.
Ferrell missed a high shot on the right side, but Indiana retained possession after a scramble for the rebound knocked the ball out of bounds with 0.7 ticks left on the clock.
"We were looking to spread the court, play basketball. Don't let them lock in and it just didn't go," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "We didn't get a great look. They challenged it. You have to be dead on there."
After a couple of timeouts, Jeremy Hollowell got the ball to Noah Vonleh on the left side but he couldn't get up a shot in time.
In a tight game, the Huskies' 43-38 lead with under nine minutes left counted as a considerable cushion. They got there when Boatright found Lasan Kromah for a layup to finish a 3-on-1 break.
Ferrell hit a 3-pointer over Niels Giffey to tie the score for the Hoosiers during a 13-3 run that gave them the lead. Evan Gordon capped the spurt with a layup, making it 51-46 Indiana with 5:15 left.
The Huskies countered with a 6-0 run and Napier gave them a 52-51 lead with a 3-pointer from the high left side, the first of the seven consecutive lead changes.
DeAndre Daniels also hit a 3 and Ferrell made a layup that spun several times around the rim, then finished off the three-point play during a flurry that left Indiana with a one-point lead.
Earlier, Connecticut had the biggest first-half lead at six points, getting there first on a Daniels layup inside seven minutes.
Ferrell's putback with just over a minute remaining tied it for Indiana but Napier hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 30-24 Connecticut lead at halftime.Game Notes
Indiana reached the final with a 102-84 win over Washington on Thursday ...
The Huskies won the most recent meeting between the teams 68-63 on Jan. 26,
2008 ... Connecticut plays Loyola (Md.) at the XL Center in Hartford on
Tuesday ... Indiana plays Evansville at home on Tuesday.