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InsideHoops [NCAA HOME] April 7, 2004

Real championship was UConn-Duke

 


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With all due respect to Georgia Tech, who had a fabulous season, they were caught up in the moment and didn't belong on the same court as the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. As UConn disposed of Georgia Tech in the 2004 NCAA tournament championship game, 82-73, we're left with one question: did the matchup between Duke vs. UConn take place one round too early?

In reality Duke vs. UConn was the championship round. Despite poor officiating, and some sloppy play by both sides, the game lived up to its billing.

Duke was the only team in the tournament to challenge UConn. After UConn jumped out to the early 15-4 lead, Emeka Okafor picked up his second foul & sat the remainder of the half. From there, Duke took over and led by seven at halftime. Once the second half started, the teams went back and forth like two heavyweight prize fighters.

UConn got within 61-60; however Duke went on another run to open up a 75-67 lead with 3 minutes left in the game. For the first and only time all tournament, UConn was met with adversity. That's when the Player of the Year Emeka Okafor carried UConn on his shoulders and scored 7 points down the stretch in route to a 12-0 run to carry the Huskies over Duke by a 79-78 final.

Once UConn overcame the huge obstacle that was Duke, the championship game on Monday was nothing more than a formality.







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