By RACHEL COHEN/AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and UConn beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the NCAA tournament.
Napier hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier’s freshman year.
The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Fourth-seeded Michigan State’s seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to reach the Final Four. Gary Harris led the Spartans (29-9) with 22 points.
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