Late surge lifts Huskies into finals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2004

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – With a stunning end to a game that looked lost, Connecticut proved it can win the close ones, too.

Led by All-American Emeka Okafor, UConn scored 12 straight points down the stretch Saturday night to rally for a 79-78 victory over Duke and move one game away from the national title.

Okafor, who spent almost all of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, scored five points, grabbed three rebounds and shut down Duke’s offense over the last four minutes, after Duke had taken a 75-67 lead.

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The 6-foot-10 center, who can do a little of everything, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

In Monday night’s final, the Huskies will play Georgia Tech, a 67-65 winner over Oklahoma State earlier Saturday. UConn will go for its second championship since 1999 when it beat Duke.

Duke, which led almost the entire game, walked away a loser in its first Final Four appearance since 2001, when the Blue Devils won it all.