Mar 29, 2014 12:30 AM by Indianapolis, IN
Kentucky and Louisville. A rivalry on most nights. But for this game in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal, it was just the next team in the way toward making the Elite Eight.
Louisville is the veteran team and got off to a fast start. The Cardinals hit 3 of their first 4 shots while UK was just 2 of 8. After a Luke Hancock three gave U of L an 8-4 lead, Cats Coach, John Calipari, called timeout.
The Wildcats fell into a trap of taking too many early three's. UK started 2 of 11 from the field and six of those were from behind the arc. Meantime, Louisville went on an 8-1 run which included a Russ Smith three pointer and a Montrezl Harrell slam. 18-5 Cardinals in front.
During this stretch, Willie Cauley-Stein went out of the game with a left ankle injury. He would ot return for the rest of the game.
UK finally relaxed a little and got in the flow of the game. Julius Randle hit a lay-up, Aaron Harrison finally got a three to fall and Randle made another lay-up to cut into the lead. UK would get as close as five on a Randle jumper 23-18.
U of L would push the lead back to nine on a Russ Smith free throw. But, UK wouldn't quit. A Dakari Johnson short jumper would cut the lead to four. That was followed up by a couple of Randle free throws to cut the lead to just two. 32-30.
U of L would take a 34-31 lead at the break although the Cardinals shot just 6-15 from the free throw line. The Wildcats shot just 33% from the field while U of L shot 50%. The Wildcats were led by Randle's 9 points and 9 rebounds. James Young added 7.
UK would cut the lead to one early in the 2nd half, on a couple of occassions. The second time on a Dakari Johnson lay-up. But, Luke Hancock would drive for a slam to put U of L back in front with just under 16 minutes left in the game.
UK would finally tie the game at 38-38 on a Julius Randle jumper with just under 15 minutes to play. Louisville would respond. Another big slam by Harrell pushed the Cardinals back in front by four, 42-38. And, another Harrell dunk would make it six.
Andrew Harrison would start to take over. He scored six straight for the Wildcats during one stretch cutting the Cardinals lead to 52-48. After a Russ Smith lay-up, Harrison would find James Young on an alley-oop to cut it to just two.
Harrell would make a lay-up for Louisville then Luke Hancock would knock down a big three to build a 7 point lead for the Cardinals 59-52.
Dakari Johnson and a big bucket as he was fouled. But, Hancock would come up with another three pointer. Then, on a drive to the basket he was fouled by James Young. His 5th and final foul with 5:32 left in the game. He would hit the free throws to give U of L a 64-57 lead.
Alex Poythress got loose for a big slam with a little over 4 minutes left in the game to cut the lead to 66-61. That was the score at the final media timeout with 3:39 left to play.
With 2:13 to go, Alex Poythress would come up with a big bucket as he was fouled. He would hit the free throw to tie it at 66. Both teams would miss on good chances to take the lead. Then, Poythress was fouled again with 1:26 remaining. The 5th and final fould on Montrezl Harrell. Poythress would hit 1 of 2 for the Cats first lead of the game, 67-66.
U of L would answer as Russ Smith hit a leaner in the lane for a 68-67 Cardinals lead. But, UK would come back and Aaron Harrison buries a three with :40 left in the game to give the Wildcats a 70-68 advantage.
There was a close call at the :15 mark about who knocked the ball out of bounds underneath U of L's basket. It went to the Cardinals where they just got it in and Wayne Blackshear was fouled. He would hit one of two and the Cats kept the lead at 70-69.
UK would get the ball in to Randle. He hit both free throws for a 72-69 lead. The Cardinals Russ Smith got off one last shot of his career and it was off the mark. Aaron Harrison was fouled and he hit both to give UK a 74-69 victory. Three Wildcats, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Julius Randle had 15 points each. Randle added 12 rebounds. Andrew Harrison had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Louisville's season ends at 31-6.
UK moves on to a Sunday game at 5:05 against Michigan.