March 29, 2014
NEW YORK - The seventh-seeded University of Connecticut men's basketball team will square off against fourth-seeded Michigan State Spartans in the Elite Eight at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. The game tips off at 2:20 p.m. ET and it will be televised on CBS and broadcasted on the UConn IMG Radio Network.
Sunday's contest will be the 11th Elite Eight appearance for the Huskies (29-8), who have won four of their last six regional finals. Overall Connecticut is 4-6 in Elite Eight games. UConn defeated third-seeded Iowa State, 81-76, on Friday night behind a team-high 27 points from junior forward DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.). Senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) paced the Connecticut offense early, connecting on four-three pointers in the first half to help the Huskies take a 36-26 lead into the break. His fourth 3-pointer gave him 250 for his career, moving him into second place all-time in program history and past former UConn standout Ben Gordon.
Junior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) and freshman guard Terrence Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also tallied double-digit points, as UConn pushed its lead to 17 points with about 15 minutes to go and then held off a late Iowa State comeback to advance.
Connecticut holds a 3-2 all-time record against the Spartans and the Huskies are 0-1 against MSU in NCAA Tournament play. UConn's last win over MSU came in second-year head coach Kevin Ollie's first game as coach of the Huskies on Nov. 9, 2012 when Napier poured in a game-high 25 points to lead the Huskies to a 66-62 upset against the No. 14 Spartans.
MSU (29-8) advanced to the Elite Eight after knocking off top-seeded Virginia, 61-59, on Friday and will play in its 12th Elite Eight game on Sunday. The Spartans have now reached a regional final eight times under head coach Tom Izzo, who is 6-1 at MSU in Elite Eight games. Junior guard Branden Dawson (24) and senior center Adreian Payne (16) scored in double-figures to provide the offense for the Spartans, who bring a six-game winning streak into Sunday's game. Payne has averaged 16.5 points a game this season, while sophomore guard Gary Harris leads MSU in scoring, tallying 16.6 points a contest.
Sunday's game will be the fourth contest at MSG this season for the Huskies, who defeated Boston College and Indiana there back in November to capture 2K Sports Classic title before downing Iowa State this week. UConn holds a 60-52 (.536) overall record at the famous venue.