HOUSTON - (AP) - The only thing that could stop Kemba Walker andConnecticut's amazing run was the final buzzer.
On a night when the massive arena felt like a dusty old gym,UConn made Butler look like the underdog it really was, winning thenational championship Monday night with an old-fashioned, grinding53-41 beatdown of the Bulldogs.
Walker finished with 16 points for the Huskies (32-9), who wontheir 11th straight game since closing the regular season with a9-9 Big East record that foreshadowed none of this.
They closed it out with a defensive showing for the ages,holding Butler to a 12-for-64 shooting. That's 18.8 percent, theworst ever in a title game, which made for an ugly overall nightbut turned into the kind of game a grizzled old coach like JimCalhoun could love.
At age 68, he became the oldest coach to win the NCAAchampionship and joined John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, John Krzyzewskiand Bob Knight as only the fifth coach to win three NCAA titles.
He did it by accepting the reality that the rim was about aswide as a pancake on a defensive-minded night in Houston, by makinghis players pound the ball inside and insisting on the kind ofdefense that UConn played during this remarkable run, but whichoften got overshadowed by Walker's theatrics.
Connecticut outscored Butler by an amazing 26-2 in the paint.
The Bulldogs (28-10), in their second straight title game andhoping to put the closing chapter on the ultimate "Hoosiers"story, went a mind-numbing 13 minutes, 26 seconds in the secondhalf without making a field goal.
During that time, a 25-19 lead turned into a 41-28 deficit. Thisfor a team that never trailed Duke by more than six during lastyear's epic final.
UConn holds on for 56-55 win over Kentucky