Rip 2K at the Final Four - 1999

St. Petersburg, FL- 3/27/99 - The UConn Huskies had finally made the Final Four after a decade of failure and heart break. Where Ohio State, led by Coach Jim O'Brien had mastered one of the great turnarounds in NCAA History to get the Buckeyes to a Final Four for the first time since 1968. Of course Richard Hamilton and Khalid El Ahmin led he Huskies out of the West Regional in Phoenix, while the Buckeyes survived the South Regional and an epic Final with St John's to get to St Pete...Led by Michael Redd and Massachusetts native Scoonie Penn.

The first half back and forth as the teams felt each other out. The Buckeyes reeled of 6 straight points to go up 23-22, the Huskies responded by making their next six shot and a 10-0 run...Where Richard Hamilton joined the 2,000 point club. After making 12 of it's first 20 shots, the Huskies got a bit careless per Jim Calhoun and Ohio St responded with a half ending 12-4 run that put the Buckeyes down just one at halftime. As UConn made just 3 of it's last 13 shots.

The early stages of the second half is where the Huskies got it's separation and never trailed again. As they started the last 20 with a 9-2 run to go up 45-37. While Michael Redd had some success, Scoonie Penn was shut down by Ricky Moore. As Penn went just 3 of 13 from the field and scored only 11 points. UConn could never quite put Ohio St in the rearview mirror as the Buckeyes hung in there, but got no closer than three. The dagger came with 1:38 left when Hamilton curled to the right elbow and drained a 15ftr to give the Huskies a 61-55 lead en route to the 64-58 win.

Hamilton was 10 of 17 and led the way with 24, while El Ahmin added 18. Moore just 1 of 8, but had 8 boards and played strong defense. Redd had 15 for the Buckeyes as their season ended 27-9. Only one obstacle left...You might remember what happened !!

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