HOUSTON (AP) – It will be the Butler Bulldogs taking on the Connecticut Huskies for the national championship in men’s basketball Monday night in Houston.
The eighth-seeded Bulldogs are in the NCAA title game for the second straight year after Shelvin Mack and backup Zach Hahn led them to a 70-62 win over No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth.
Mack scored 24, including consecutive three-pointers and a layup to give the Bulldogs a 52-45 lead midway through the second half. Hahn scored all eight of his points during a 90-second span to put Butler ahead to stay.
Jamie Skeen led VCU with 27 points and Brandon Burgess had 15, but the Rams made only eight of 22 three-point tries and shot less than 40 percent from the field. Joey Rodriguez failed to hit a basket until 8:30 left and finished with only three points on 1-for-7 shooting.
The third-seeded Huskies are one victory away from their third NCAA title after Kemba Walker scored 18 points in a 56-55 win over No. 4 Kentucky. Walker also had seven assists for the Huskies, who held the Wildcats to 34 percent shooting and didn’t allow a point for more than 5 1/2 minutes in the second half.
Brandon Knight had a miserable shooting night for the Wildcats, missing 17 of 23 shots and clanging a potential game-tying three-pointer down the stretch. Shabazz Napier hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to ice the victory for the Huskies.
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