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Stephon Castle's breakout Final Four performance powers UConn, sets up epic NCAA title showdown vs. Purdue

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Stephon Castle’s eyes got big on the opening possession Saturday night when he realized how Alabama intended to guard him.

The UConn freshman’s defender remained rooted in the paint, sagging 8 to 10 feet off him and daring him to shoot.

Alabama’s daring strategy backfired when it coaxed newfound assertiveness out of a physically gifted but sometimes tentative future lottery pick. The long, athletic Castle delivered the best performance of his career, exploding for 21 points to power UConn to a hard-earned 86-72 victory over the feisty Crimson Tide in the second of Saturday’s two Final Four games.