ARLINGTON, Texas — Coach Kevin Ollie walked to the Connecticut fans' corner, raised his hands, stretched his fingers and hid his thumb.
Four, as in the number of national championships for the Huskies since 1999.
Connecticut, with four national championships, is tied with Duke for fifth most all-time (trails UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana). The Huskies are also 4-0 all-time in national championship games, the best undefeated record for any school.
Connecticut brilliantly slowed the pace of the NCAA final down the stretch and in the process cooled off the hot Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 on Monday night.
“One word,” guard Ryan Boatright said. “Unbelievable.”
Connecticut played every late possession to near perfection, bleeding the clock and usually getting points.
The biggest one came from Boatright, who splashed a 10-foot floater as the shot buzzer sounded, making it 56-50 with 4:09 remaining. Only minutes earlier, Boatright had gone to the bench with a slight ankle sprain, but he was determined to fight through.
“I've got a lot of heart and I wasn't coming out,” Boatright said. “We put in too much work all year for me to give up on an ankle sprain.”
The Wildcats answered with an Alex Poythress follow slam, but he missed a free throw that would have cut it to three, and after DeAndre Daniels scored inside for the Huskies, Kentucky never got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead.
The final two minutes passed and Kentucky coach John Calipari decided not to put Connecticut at the line. This allowed the Huskies to burn the clock and keep the ball in the hands of senior point guard Shabazz Napier.