UConn out in NCAA tournament

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - (AP) - Jim Calhoun and Connecticut didn't expecttheir season to end this way.

Their future is equally unpredictable.

"We're talking about tonight's game. We're not talking aboutme," Calhoun said after Iowa State stunned the defending nationalchampions 77-64 in the NCAA tournament Thursday night. "I'm goingto get on the plane tomorrow, go home and do what I usually do andmeet up with the team on Monday. My own personal thing, I don'tthink it has any relevance, to be honest with you."

Chris Allen led four Cyclones in double figures with 20 points,and Iowa State scored its last 14 at the free-throw line to beatUConn, the first time since UCLA in 1996 that the defending champshave lost in the opening game. Calhoun didn't even wait for thefinal buzzer, heading for halfcourt with about four seconds left tocongratulate Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

It is only the second loss in the opening game of the NCAAtournament for UConn under Calhoun.

"I'm surprised as anybody, clearly," Calhoun said. "I imagineour players are, too."

For the eighth-seeded Cyclones, meanwhile, it's their biggestvictory in a season of them, having knocked off Kansas and Baylorduring Big 12 play.

Royce White had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds,and Scott Christopherson also had 15 for the Cyclones. Iowa Stateshot 48 percent from the floor and had a whopping 41-24 edge inrebounds.

"I feel like just we wanted it more," Allen said. "I feltlike we was doing everything we needed to and played hard."

Next up for Iowa State: Overall No. 1 seed Kentucky in the thirdround of the South Regional on Saturday. The Wildcats routedWestern Kentucky earlier Thursday.

For the Huskies, the future is far less certain. This could beConnecticut's last tournament until at least 2014, with the Huskiesfacing a ban on tournament play next year because of past academicproblems. Although Calhoun insists he hasn't made any retirementplans, he's had a history of health problems - he's a three-timecancer survivor and missed a month this season with back pain - andhe turns 70 in May.

"This game was a disappointment; this season was not adisappointment to me," Calhoun said. "I knew this team could bereally good, but we just didn't reach that level."

Shabazz Napier led the Huskies with 22, and Jeremy Lamb had 19.But Connecticut could never get into a rhythm and had no answer forthe quicker, more aggressive Cyclones.

"It's very disappointing to have to end the season this way,"Napier said.

The Cyclones arrived in Louisville with no shortage of swagger,smirking when asked if they were intimidated by the defendingnational champions.

And they wasted no time backing up their big talk, jumping onthe Huskies from the opening tip. It took Calhoun less than twominutes before he'd seen enough, jumping up to call a timeout.

"We wanted to attack the boards more and whatever 3s we got, wetook," Allen said. "At the end of the day, we were trying to getit in, get rebounds and do all the little stuff."

After leading by as much as 22 in the first half, Iowa State(23-10) withstood a UConn rally in the second half. Ryan Boatrightwent on a one-man tear, making three straight baskets to pullConnecticut within 58-52 with 8:24 to play.

"Once we cut it to six, I felt like if we dug down a littledeeper maybe it would crack," Boatright said.

But the Huskies (20-14) couldn't get any closer, missing theirnext four shots and going scoreless for more than five-and-a-halfminutes.

Iowa State, meanwhile, got a big layup from Bubu Palo and aneven bigger bucket from Allen.

Allen has played more NCAA tournament games than any player inthe 68-team field after making back-to-back Final Fours withMichigan State in 2009 and 2010, and his experience showed. Hechased down his miss on a 3 from the corner and went up and underthe basket, scoring to put Iowa State back in front 63-52 with 4:15to play.

"Scoring in clutch situations always boosts your team'smomentum," Allen said. "That's what I felt like it did and helpedus just get back on track."

UConn could never make another run, and all the Cyclones had todo was convert their free throws. As the game wound down, Whitepointed at Iowa State's radio crew and said, "I told you, didn'tI?"

NCAA investigations and questions about Calhoun's future haveclouded the glow from UConn's third national title all season.

Calhoun sat out the first three games of the Big East season forfailure to maintain control of his program when it was charged withNCAA violations. Boatright missed nine games, including six at thebeginning of the season, after an NCAA investigation found he andhis family took more than $8,000 in impermissible benefits beforehe enrolled at Connecticut.

Despite the turmoil, the Huskies won 12 of their first 13 games.

Then things fell apart, in spectacular fashion.

UConn lost 11 of its next 16, including a 21-point blowout byLouisville followed by an 18-point rout at the hands of Syracuse.Back problems forced Calhoun to take a monthlong leave, and theHuskies went 3-5 in his absence. He returned for the regular-seasonfinale against Pittsburgh after back surgery, and UConn respondedwith three straight wins before losing a close one to Syracuse inthe Big East tournament.

Though Calhoun talked about having a second chance in thetournament, Iowa State put a quick end to that.

"You saw the game," Calhoun said, "we played very poorly. Wedeserved to lose the game."

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