(CNN) The University of Connecticut won Fifth men’s basketball national title 76-59 victory over San Diego State University on Monday night at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Senior guard Tristan Newton led UConn (31-8) with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Final Four best player Adama Sanoko, a junior forward, chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“We were unranked going into the year, so we had a chip on our shoulder,” UConn head coach Don Hurley told game broadcaster CBS. “Even in those dark times we knew we could play.” He added referring to the team Six losses in eight games During the regular season.
He said that going into the tournament he had his team’s confidence going into the season.
“And when you have leaders like Andre Jackson (game-high six assists Monday) and Adama Sanoko, they put this team together and got us back on track and we knew we were the best team in the tournament. We had to play to our level,” he said. He added.
Keshad Johnson led San Diego State (32-7) with 14 points.
UConn trailed early, but San Diego State had an 11-minute, eight-second stretch in which they hit just five free throws and missed 12 consecutive shots from the field. The Huskies went on a 10-6 run at halftime to go up 36-24.
The Aztecs went on a run midway through the second half to cut the deficit to five at 60-55 with 5:19 left, but the Huskies scored the next nine goals to take a comfortable lead inside the final two minutes.
“I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for believing in me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Sanoko told CBS.
UConn won each of its six tournament games by at least 10 points, with its closest game being a 13-point win over the University of Miami in the national semifinals.
UConn enters rarefied air as the sixth team to win five NCAA men’s basketball championships, joining UCLA (11), Kentucky (eight), North Carolina (six), Duke (five) and Indiana (five). All of UConn’s titles have come since 1999, with Monday’s previous occurring in 2014.
UConn’s women’s teams have won 11 basketball national titles.
CNN’s Steve Almasi and Issy Ronald contributed to this report.