National Basketball Association
Connecticut 75, Purdue 60
When: 9:20 PM ET, Monday, April 8, 2024
Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Officials: # Jeffrey Anderson, # Terry Oglesby, # Roger Ayers
Attendance: 74423

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- UConn knew no one could take away its 2023 title, but the Huskies went out and got another one just for good measure.

Tristen Newton scored 20 points and dished out seven assists as top-seeded UConn won its second straight national championship, beating Purdue 75-60 on Monday night.

"Last year was last year," Newton said. "That trophy, the (2023) trophy is in the crib, in coach (Dan Hurley's) office, and nobody can take that from him. ... Credit coach for setting the tone, and everybody just follows his lead."

Stephon Castle added 15 points and Cam Spencer and Donovan Clingan contributed 11 apiece for the Huskies (37-3), who found a way to limit the Boilermakers on offense outside of center Zach Edey.

Edey, the two-time National Player of the Year, scored 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting, but much of his scoring in the second half came with Purdue (34-5), also a No. 1 seed, facing a sizable deficit.

UConn was quicker, more efficient from the field and tougher on defense compared to the Boilermakers, who stayed close until early in the second half, when the game started to get away from them.

"We watched the film. They get their 3-pointers off people going down there and helping on Edey," Newton said. "(The UConn coaching staff) did a great job game-planning and made sure it was a focus that we didn't leave the 3-point line and let Edey do his damage. He only shoots twos. He doesn't shoot threes. If he makes 15 twos like he did (Monday), that's 30. Where are the rest of the points going to come from?"

Purdue went just 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.

The Huskies are the first team to secure back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles since Florida did so in 2006-07. Newton, Castle, Clingan and Spencer made the Final Four All-Tournament Team, joining Edey.

Newton was named Most Outstanding Player.

Edey missed his first three shots of the second half, and UConn went ahead by nine when Castle converted a putback for a 43-34 lead with 16:08 to play. A lob from Newton to Samson Johnson for a dunk gave the Huskies a 47-34 advantage.

"I just got to play better," Edey said. "This is one of those games where I can't go through stretches where I'm not effective. I had a few of those stretches ... and that was the game."

Newton drove the lane and flipped a two-handed layup over the 7-foot-4 Edey, giving UConn a 51-38 cushion with 12:06 to go.

The Huskies took control for good on an Alex Karaban 3-pointer with 9:53 remaining, and Hassan Diarra followed with a layup for a 56-40 lead. Purdue couldn't recover, trailing by at least 13 the rest of the way.

Outside of Edey, the Boilermakers went 9-for-29 (31 percent) from the floor for the game. Braden Smith produced 12 points and eight assists for Purdue. Edey also hauled in 10 boards.

Edey energized Purdue for long stretches of the first half, making 7 of 12 shots in the period. In one sequence, he emphatically rejected two UConn attempts near the rim.

Edey was a force down low, even while going up against Clingan, who, despite being 7-foot-2, could only keep the 300-pound Edey from scoring when he was able to force the Boilermakers' big man out of the interior.

But UConn made everyone else on Purdue miss their shots.

"They were just going to let us play one-on-one in the post. You see the 25 attempts that Zach had," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Not everybody can do what they just did. You have to give credit to their defense and their coach and how they're wired."

Smith hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired with 2:18 to play in the first half, cutting the Huskies' lead to 32-30. UConn scored the last four points of the half for a 36-30 lead.

The Huskies connected on 48.4 percent of their field-goal attempts for the game.

--Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Purdue   Connecticut
Zach Edey 37 Scoring Tristen Newton 20
Braden Smith 8 Assists Tristen Newton 7
Zach Edey 10 Rebounds Cam Spencer 8
Zach Edey 7 Free Throws Made Tristen Newton 6
Braden Smith 2 Steals Cam Spencer 2
Zach Edey 2 Blocks Alex Karaban 2
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Purdue 60 44.4 1-7 11-15 8 27 3 3 9
Connecticut 75 48.4 6-22 9-11 18 32 4 3 8