New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - DeAndre Daniels scored 27 points on 10- of-15 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, as Connecticut weathered a late charge from Iowa State and held on for an 81-76 win at Madison Square Garden.
Star guard Shabazz Napier had 19 points, five assists and five rebounds, helping the seventh-seeded Huskies (29-8) reach the East Regional final. Ryan Boatright supplied 16 points for UConn, which led by as many as 17 in the second half before the Cyclones mounted a furious comeback.
Dustin Hogue tied an Iowa State NCAA Tournament record with 34 points. Melvin Ejim, the Big 12 Player of the Year, struggled for the third-seeded Cyclones (28-8), finishing with only seven points while missing 10 of his 13 shots.
Daniels buried a 3-pointer to stretch the Huskies' lead to 49-32 with 14:19 remaining. It took Iowa State nearly 10 minutes to finally close within single digits as a DeAndre Kane trey trimmed the deficit to 63-56 with 4:35 left.
"Second half I thought we were very aggressive and figured some things out," said Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. "Got much better movement and went down swinging and that's exactly what I would expect out of this team."
The Cyclones were down 67-63 after Naz Long hit a three from the right corner with 2:19 to play, but Niels Giffey countered by nailing a trey for UConn, which made 11-of-12 free throws inside the final minute to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since it captured the 2011 national title.
The Huskies will face Michigan State on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. The Spartans edged Virginia, 61-59, late Friday night.
"My student-athletes played together, they played hard, and at the end of the game we played 40 full [minutes] to get this win," said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie.
UConn made its first four shots from the floor en route to an early 10-4 lead. The Cyclones tied the game at 12-12 on an Ejim trey just past the six-minute mark, but Napier and Boatright each drilled two 3-pointers during a subsequent 13-4 Huskies run.
The tandem of Napier and Boatright nearly outscored the Cyclones in the opening half, combining for 22 points.
Iowa State was held to 26 points on 31 percent shooting.
Conversely, the Huskies shot 51.9 percent and a layup by Amida Brimah gave them a 10-point lead at halftime.
Hogue tied the record set by Lafester Rhodes vs. Georgia Tech in 1988 and matched by Dedric Willoughby against UCLA in 1997 ... Ejim played in his seventh career NCAA tourney game, tying an Iowa State record ... Kane had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds ... Ejim and Kane became just the second pair of Iowa State teammates to reach 600 points in the same season, joining Jeff Grayer and Rhodes in 1988 ... The UConn-Iowa State game was the first NCAA Tournament game at Madison Square Garden since 1961 ... Hoiberg and Ollie were teammates on the Chicago Bulls in 2001-02.