Shabazz Napier erupted for 21 second half points, as he led Connecticut to a 77-65 victory over former Big East rival Villanova to send the Huskies to the Sweet 16.
Just two nights removed from a 24-point performance against Saint Joseph's, Napier was right back at it, as Connecticut eliminated the second-seeded Wildcats from the Tournament.
Behind stout defense, the Huskies would make a resurgence, going on a 16-1 run to take the lead at 25-20 with 1:32 remaining in the half.
A flagrant foul on Terrence Samuel with 29 seconds remaining would put JayVaughn Pinkston on the line, where he would make one free throw before Arcidiacono knocked down a three with just nine seconds remaining to send the Wildcats to the locker room down just 25-24.
Arcidiacono led the way for the Wildcats in the half, scoring 8 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. Villanova as a team would shoot just 30.4 percent from the field however, while also committing eight turnovers, which the Huskies converted into 10 points.
Arcidiacono would open the second half with a three to put the Wildcats up 27-25, but the Huskies would begin to take over behind stellar play from Shabazz Napier. After the guard hit back-to-back threes for Connecticut, the Huskies found themselves with a 51-40 lead.
Napier would soon get tangled up with Darrun Hilliard however, causing him to injure his shin and forcing him to the bench. With Napier out, the Wildcats made a charge, pulling within 56-51, but the guard would quickly return and pick up right where he left off.
Napier would continue to find the basket, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half, as the Huskies topped the Wildcats 77-65.
"Do I feel like we could have did more? Maybe put a little more pressure on the ball," James Bell said. "But he (Napier) was making some good plays. He was shooting outside what we call the scoring area. He's an outstanding player that made outstanding plays."
Arcidiacono led the Wildcats in the loss, scoring 18 points, while James Bell added 14 and Darrun Hilliard 13.
"Certainly a tough way to end the season," said Wright. "I don't want to let this put a damper on what this group has done this year."
The Wildcats finished the season with a 29-5 record, good for the second most wins in program history.
By: Kyle Babcock
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