Mar 30, 2014 6:06 PM by Indianapolis, Ind.
When you think about this year's Kentucky team, it's synonymous with slow starts. That was the case again in the Midwest Region Championship game against Michigan. The Wildcats were also playing without Willie Cauley-Stein. The UK Center injured his left foot in the previous game against Louisville.
The Wolverines got six early shots up to just one for Kentucky while Dakari Johnson had two turnovers. Michigan had an early 6-2 lead. And, it would extend the lead as Nik Stauskas started showing his range. A couple of three pointers would give the Wolverines an eight point lead.
Because of the injury to Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee was forced into action and he stepped up to the challenge. The UK Freshman Forward had three offensive rebounds and putbacks, including one big dunk for six quick points. The last pulled Kentucky within two at 14-12.
Michigan would go on a 7-0 run with the last five being scored by Stauskas. The final two were on a nice scoop shot from the Michigan Sophomore. The Wolverines would take a ten point lead, 32-22.
UK would get an answer. After an Andrew Harrison three pointer, James Young would bury a transition three and then hit a driving pull up jumper to get the Cats within 32-28. After a Marcus Lee blocked shot, the Cats would run the court. Another miss and Lee was there for another offensive rebound slam. UK down just two, 32-30.
At the end of th first half, Stauskas would hit one of two free throws for the last of his 18 points before the break. And, UK had one last shot. Julius Randle would hit a driving shot to tie it at 37. UK was led in scoring by Marcus Lee and James Young, who combined to hit all nine of the shots they took. Andrew Harrison and Randle added 6 apiece.