The Connecticut Huskies are national champions after taking down the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54, but there were a few players from both sides who put up some strong numbers.
It was a strong game from the Huskies, but the Wildcats didn't help themselves at the charity stripe. While James Young did go 8-of-9 from the line, the rest of the team went just 5-of-15, leaving some crucial points on the board.
While missing free throws hurt, the Wildcats did have some strong individual performances, as did the Huskies. With that in mind, let's take a look at the numbers for some of the top players.
While he doesn't get as much attention as some of the other freshmen for Kentucky, Young has been one of the team's top scorers, averaging more than 13 points per game in the tournament and more than 14 during the regular season. If it weren't for Young in this game, the Wildcats might not have been as close, as he left it all on the court.
Young had 20 points and seven rebounds in the game, making for a very strong performance. His biggest play came in the second half with the team down nine points, throwing down this impressive dunk over a defender while drawing a foul.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Young was the first freshman with at least 20 points in the national championship since Greg Oden and Mike Conley did it for Ohio State back in 2007.
James Young has 20 points... First freshman with at least 20 points in a National Championship game since Greg Oden & Mike Conley in 2007.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 8, 2014
The Wildcats may have lost, but Young shouldn't be disappointed with how he played, as he kept his team in the game with his high-scoring effort.
After all of the big games that Julius Randle had for the Wildcats in the tournament, fans were hoping that he could keep it up for the national championship game. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so.
Randle put up 10 points, six rebounds and four assists while going 3-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-7 from the free-throw line. The performance wasn't great, but it might have been due to an injury he suffered in the Final Four game against Wisconsin. As Pat Forde from Yahoo! Sports pointed out before the game, it appeared that Randle was struggling through warm-ups.
Julius Randle grimacing his way through some warmup jogging on court. He may always do that, don't know, but he doesn't appear comfortable.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 8, 2014
Although he may have been playing through some pain, that didn't keep Randle from making one of the biggest defensive plays of the game, coming up with this block in the first half.
It wasn't a terrible game for Randle, but his struggles down low made it a lot harder for the Wildcats to pull out a win.
The backcourt duo of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright was back at it again in the national championship, with the two combining for 36 points and six steals despite some moments of frustration between the two.
Boatright was an incredibly efficient scorer for the Huskies, going 5-of-6 from the field. He finished the game with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
There was a scary moment for Huskies fans in the second half, as Boatright appeared to tweak his ankle when coming up the floor. He was forced to call a timeout due to the injury, and it looked like he could miss some game time. But it was the national championship, and there was no way he was going to sit out.
Boatright showed a lot of toughness in the win. He made a couple of bad plays throughout the game, but he made good plays when it mattered.
Almost every national champion has had one player who can take over when the team needs it. This year's Huskies team has always had Napier to rely on, as he averaged 18 points per game this year.
They may not have needed Napier to take over in their Final Four matchup against Florida, but they were glad he could against the Wildcats.
Napier finished with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting with four made three-pointers, adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals. After the win, Napier proved to everyone just how motivated he was this season with a few words (h/t The Associated Press) via ESPN.com:
"Honestly, I want to get everybody's attention right quick," Napier said. "You're looking at the hungry Huskies. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us."
With another national championship to end his college career, Napier can now focus on making his dream of going to the NBA a reality.