[BIG EAST] Senegalese Stephane Diop scored on a brilliant individual effort to lead No. 4 Connecticut to a 1-0 win over
No. 11 Louisville that moved the Huskies into Sunday's Big East final against St. John's at Red Bull Arena.
“This was a hard-fought game," said UConn coach Ray Reid. "It certainly wasn’t our best effort at all. We have some tough, tough kids here. We played just good enough and they earned the result. They battled and played well enough to get a huge win tonight against a great Louisville team. This was basically a final four game against a team that can win it all."
In the 79th minute, Diop took a pass on the right side from Nickardo Blake, took one touch to his left and bent a shot perfectly into the far corner for his third in as many games in the Big East Tournament. Diop also scored the game-winning goal in double overtime in the last meeting between the two teams this season.
“I took the pass and saw an angle, so I just went for it," said Diop. "I don’t know. It was just a good angle and I hit it well."
The Huskies recorded the 15th shutout of the season to tie the program record set by the 2000 NCAA championship team.
Michael Roman had the best chance of the night for Louisville 13 minutes into the second half when he put a shot off the crossbar from 10 yards out.
ST. JOHN'S-VILLANOVA. St. John’s defeated Villanova, 2-0, in Friday's other semifinal at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Storm won the game with two goals in a span of four minutes late in the game.
On the first goal, Jack Bennett sent a long ball to senior forward Walter Hines, who scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
On the second, Bennett drove a corner kick into a crowd in front of the net, where Ido Ligety headed the ball in to give St. John’s a 2-0 cushion.
“It was a very exciting game,” said St. John’s coach Dave Masur. “Villanova had a very exciting season and a great run in the postseason. We knew it was going to be a rough game and I’m proud of our guys because they played well.”