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No. 7 UConn advances to fourth NCAA tournament title game

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ARLINGTON, Texas — With 9:07 remaining in the first half of Saturday’s national semifinal matchup with No. 1 Florida, No. 7 UConn had managed to score just four points. Leading scorer Shabazz Napier had yet to score, and outside of points at the rim scored by DeAndre Daniels and Amida Brimah the Huskies enjoyed no success on the offensive end of the floor. In need of a boost head coach Kevin Ollie went to a three point guard lineup, inserting freshman Terrence Samuel.

The move turned the tide of the contest, one that UConn would ultimately go on to win by the final score of 63-53. As a result the program will make its fourth national title game appearance Monday night, with this being the first under second-year head coach Kevin Ollie.

Daniels, who has been outstanding all tournament long, paced the Huskies with 20 points to go along with ten rebounds. And despite getting off to that slow start UConn finished the game shooting 56% from the field, taking control of the game and getting many of the quality looks they desired throughout the night.

MORE: UConn beats Florida by … playing like Florida?

Four starters finished the game in double figures, and as a team UConn outscored Florida 36-24 in the paint. While the first meeting between these two teams, a 65-64 UConn win on December 2, can’t be relied for too much it should be noted that the Gators held a 32-14 advantage in paint points on that night.

Florida struggled mightily offensively, shooting 39% from the field and 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. Michael Frazier II was responsible for the lone made three but he was unable to shake free of the UConn defense, attempting just three shots on the night. Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin combined to score just eight points, and that had a major impact on the outcome.

Without the inside-out balance that made the Gators the favorite to cut down the nets this weekend, Billy Donovan’s team was unable to muster up enough offensive production to derail the red-hot Huskies.

“On offense, we just couldn’t really get anything going,” Wilbekin said. “They were being really aggressive and we couldn’t really get into our offense. We weren’t moving the ball as well, and a couple of us were having bad shooting nights.”

As stated earlier the Huskies have made three prior appearances in the title game, winning all three (1999, 2004 and 2011). And given the way Daniels and his teammates have played in reaching this point, UConn is is more than capable of making it 4-for-4.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.