Apr 5, 2014 11:19 PM by Arlington, Tex.
Kentucky was making its 16th Final Four. Wisconsin was playing in just its third. But, only two reserve players for UK, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson, had been in the atmosphere of a Final Four.
Neither team looked nervous. It just looked like another basketball game as Kentucky got on the board first thanks to a three pointer from James Young. A fast break lay-up by Aaron Harrison put the Cats up 5-2.
Wisconsin was just as calm on its end. After James Young made it 9-7 UK, the Badgers went on a 10-0 run. It included a beautiful drive from Bronson Koenig then two straight three poiners from Ben Brust. Wisconsin would take a 17-9 lead.
Kentucky would come back with six straight. Aaron Harrison hit a jumper first. Then, it was Dakari Johnson with a second chance tip shot off his own miss. Last, it was a Julius Randle pull up jumper to cut the Badgers lead to 17-15.
The Badgers would extend it to an 8 point advantage again as Koenig hit another three and two Brust free throws.
With 5:10 to go in the first half, Dakari Johnson was fouled by Frank Kaminsky. But, Johnson also pushed Kaminsky to the ground after the play and, after a review, Johnson was called for a technical.
The Cats would get a late 6-2 run as Randle hit a big shot and a timely bucket from Dominique Hawkins. Then, Randle had a big spin move for two more. The Cats would trail Wisconsin at the half, 40-36.
Wisconsin hit all 14 of its free throws. Julius Randle and James Young led the way with 9 points each for UK. Andrew Harrison sat a big part of the first half after picking up two fouls.
The 2nd half didn't start off great for UK. Randle had his shot blocked on the first possession. Then, Wisconsin got an offensive rebound for a 2nd chance bucket.
After a timeout, UK woke up. Going on a 15-0 run that involved a lot of Cats scoring. It started with a Randle jumper. That was followed up by a jumper and lay-up from James Young. Dakari Johnson had a lay-up and was fouled, Alex Poythress had a tip-in and Marcus Lee had a dunk. Young hit two more free throws for a 51-43 UK lead.
Wisconsin went on its own 15-4 run to re-claim the lead. It was capped off by a Duje Dukan three pointer to give the Badgers a 56-55 lead.
Wisconsin kept a 5 point lead as Traevon Jackson hit a lay-up as he was fouled. But, UK would counter as Randle hit an and-one, 67-65 Badgers in front.
After Poythress was called for a goal-tending, he made up for it with a slam as he was fouled. He missed the free throw. UK still down 69-67.
Randle had a chance to tie it up at the free throw line and hit both for a 69-all game with under four minutes to play.
Tied at 71 with a :15 remaining, Wisconsin's shot clock was down to one when Traevon Jackson gave a pump fake and then got Andrew Harrison to foul him. Wisconsin had made all of its free throws until Jackson missed the first. He hit the next two for a 73-71 lead.
UK got its turn and didn't take a timeout. Once again, the Wildcats got the ball to Aaron Harrison and he drained a three pointer from the win for the lead with five seconds remaining. Wisconsin had one last chance but Jackson's shot hit the backboard and rim and fell off.
UK was led by James Young's 17. Julius Randle added 16 while only getting 5 rebounds. Dakari Johnson had 10.
Kentucky advances to Monday's National Championship to face Connecticut. The 8th seed UK vs. the 7th seed UConn.
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