Mar 22, 2014 12:23 AM by St. Louis, MO
After missing out on the tourament last year, many of the Kentucky players got the chance to play in their first NCAA Tournament game. And, the Wildcats didn't seem as composed as they were last week in Atlanta for the SEC Tournament.
The game had an unusual start as Kansas State's, Brian Rohleder, was called for a technical foul for dunking in warm-ups. So, Andrew Harrison hit 1-of-2 free throws before the game even began.
Then, the Wildcats struggled from the field. UK Missed 11 of their first 13 shots for 16%. Good thing is the Cats played good defense to only trail 8-5. That's when Alex Poythress hit a big three pointer to tie the game at 8-8.
After a couple of Andrew Harrison free throws gave the Wildcats a 10-8 lead, Aaron Harrison sank a three pointer. That was followed up by Andrew draining a straight away three pointer and Aaron droping in another long one from the wing to give UK a 19-10 lead.
Julius Randle had a huge slam off a great pass from Andrew Harrison to give UK a 10 point lead, 26-16. And, the Wildcats built their biggest lead of the half 12 with another Randle driving lay-up. 29-17 UK would lead.
Kansas State was able to cut the lead to six at 29-23 right before the half. Aaron Harrison led the way with nine. His brother, Andrew chipped in 6 with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Randle also added 6 with 6 rebounds.
Kansas State and UK started trading baskets to begin the second half. But, after failing to score in the first half, KSU Wildcat, Shane Southwell, hit two big three pointers to cut the UK lead to 35-33.
Kentucky then went on a 7-0 run, incuding two free throws after a technical on Shane Southwell. He thought he was fouled and after UK got the rebound, he argued the call. The run was capped by a Julius Randle jumper. 42-35 UK.
Kentucky would extend the lead back to double digits when Randle took a pass at the free throw line and drove to the bucket for the lay-in as he was fouled. He would hit the free throw to put UK up 49-38.
Kentucky's defense was just stifling as the Wildcats would hold K-State without a field goal for nearly 7 minutes. UK held the other Wildcats to right at 30% shooting from the field for the second half, Until, the Wildcats from Kansas State hit some big three pointers late to pull within 55-49 with 24 seconds left to play.
UK would hang on to win 56-49 to advance to a Sunday game against #1 seed Wichita State. The Wildcats were led by Julius Randle's 19 points and 15 rebounds. Aaron Harrison added 15 point. James Young and Andrew Harrison chipped in 7 apiece. UK is now 25-10 on the season.