HOUSTON -- UConn harbored two points of concern entering Saturday's national semifinal at the Final Four in Houston on Saturday, and both focused on fitness -- Adama Sanogo was fasting during Ramadan and Jordan Hawkins battled an illness this past week.
In short order, those concerns proved to be unfounded.
Sanogo produced a double-double while Hawkins nailed three 3-pointers and scored 13 points as the fourth-seeded Huskies rolled to a 72-59 victory over Miami to secure their fifth appearance in the national title game. UConn never trailed.
The Huskies (30-8) will meet San Diego State (32-6), which eliminated Florida Atlantic earlier Saturday, in pursuit of their fifth championship. UConn improved to 16-0 against nonconference opponents this season, doing so by bludgeoning fifth-seeded Miami in the paint.
Behind Sanogo, who paired 21 points with 10 rebounds, the Huskies tallied 38 paint points. Following a surprising start that featured his sinking a pair of 3-pointers, Sanogo shot 9 of 11 from the floor to lead UConn to its fifth double-digit victory in this NCAA Tournament.
"I think what we're doing -- when we're playing harder than the other team, which is our calling card," Huskies coach Dan Hurley said. "Going like plus nine on the glass, playing elite defense, and having a lot of answers on offense, there's nowhere where we're weak as a team, and we're deep."
Of the five previous teams to reach the title game after winning each of their NCAA Tournament contests by double digits, only North Carolina in 2016 failed to win the national championship. The Tar Heels lost to Villanova on a buzzer-beater in Houston.
Miami fell into a 20-point hole on two Hawkins free throws with 16:36 left to play before flashing its trademark mettle.
Behind Isaiah Wong, who led the Hurricanes (29-8) with 15 points, Miami used a 19-7 run to close to within 53-45 with 11:40 left. Wong delivered a transition dunk, a midrange jumper and a 3-pointer during the surge, but UConn stabilized behind a Hawkins 3.
The Huskies wouldn't allow Miami over the hump, utilizing handiwork on the offensive glass to extend crucial possessions. UConn parlayed 13 offensive boards into 18 second-chance points, and once the Huskies reclaimed control, Miami proved unable to cut the margin to single digits.
"UConn, they're a very good team," Wong said. "They're a tall team. They have length on their side. And we struggled a little bit. I feel like we beat ourselves up. We didn't really play our game and pass the ball and get the ball moving. And we just kept it and we took a lot of tough shots."
Jordan Miller posted 11 points and 10 rebounds for Miami but, like Wong, shot 4-for-10.
UConn was on fire from the perimeter at the start, drilling three 3-pointers -- two from Sanogo -- to seize a 9-0 lead.
But as they did against Texas in the Elite Eight, the Hurricanes fashioned a response, and when Nijel Pack drained a 3 with 8:20 left in the half, Miami pulled even at 19-19.
Miami followed by suffering through a prolonged cold snap and UConn took advantage, punishing the Hurricanes in the paint behind Sanogo. The Hurricanes missed nine consecutive shots during a nearly five-minute scoreless drought and closed the half missing 12 of 14 shots.
Sanogo finished the half with 13 points.
Further, the Huskies entered the break by making their final three shots, two from behind the arc and one at the buzzer, when Alex Karaban capped a perfectly executed set with a 3 for a 37-24 advantage.
When UConn needed Hawkins following the intermission, he proved that he was -- and will be -- ready for action.
"I feel great," Hawkins said. "No reason to be concerned on Monday."
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