Kentucky Upsets Louisville
INDIANAPOLIS – No one will accuse these Kentucky youngsters of being the fastest learners. Not this season. And positively not during most of Friday evening's game against Louisville.
But once again, late within the game with everything on the road, they figured issues out just in time.
Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-forward rating with 39 seconds left and Julius Randle made a pair of clutch free throws to elevate the implausible freshmen of Kentucky to a seventy four-sixty nine victory over their in-state rivals.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats (27-10) led for a grand total of sixty five seconds on this Midwest Regional semifinal. They will play Michigan on Sunday for a visit to the Remaining 4.
"I advised them before the game, you will get punched in the mouth and you are going to taste blood," coach John Calipari said. "You'll be able to fight or you possibly can brace yourself for the next shot. They fought."
Fourth-seeded and defending champion Louisville ends its season at 31-6.
Few expected a run this deep for the Wildcats as this season performed out and their five freshman starters struggled to play a staff game. However they have been learning slowly. They trailed by thirteen midway via the primary half, then by seven with four half minutes left.
Abruptly, issues kicked in.
Really, it was a sophomore, Alex Poythress, who scored 5 factors and blocked a Russ Smith layup try throughout a 7-0 run that tied the sport at 66 with 2:11 left.
"Alex Poythress gained the game for us," Calipari stated. "We were begging him the entire game to start taking part in, and he performed at the right time."
From there, it was the Kentucky freshmen who showed all of the poise in opposition to the defending national champs, who were led by seniors Smith (23 points) and Luke Hancock (19).
Harrison took a move from Randle and noticed up in the nook for the go-forward shot. Each finished with 15 factors, as did yet another freshman starter, Dakari Johnson.
On the following possession, Louisville's Wayne Blackshear got fouled. The seventy one percent profession free throw shooter missed the first. Randle got here down and made two free throws to place Kentucky forward by three. Harrison guarded Smith and forced him to overlook a tricky 3-pointer on the next possession – "His first cease of the game," Calipari quipped.
Just a few seconds later, the Wildcats were chest bumping and Calipari was pumping his fists to a loud stadium that was about two-thirds Kentucky blue, one-third Cardinals red.
Kentucky now has knocked off previously undefeated Wichita State and defending nationwide champion Louisville, and has a gathering with final year's runner-up, Michigan, coming next. Earlier, the Wolverines beat Tennessee seventy three-71.
The newest win for Kentucky was the last word lesson in persistence for a team that, for therefore lengthy, had bother exhibiting any. The Wildcats were touted on T-shirts as the workforce that would go 40-zero and win the nationwide title, then all head off to the NBA.
Two out of three remains to be potential.
"They finally have surrendered and misplaced themselves within the workforce," Calipari stated. "It is just taken a long time."
Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who fell to 11-1 in Candy 16 games, produced a matchup zone that the Wildcats had hassle working by.
The Playing cards took the double-digit lead early, yet went to halftime up solely three regardless of holding Kentucky to 33 percent from the ground.
The difference in Pitino's mind: Louisville went 13-for-23 from the free throw line whereas Kentucky went 22-for-27. And the Wildcats had a 37-29 rebounding edge, which additionally led to eight more second-likelihood factors.
"I informed them we in all probability beat ourselves a little bit bit down the stretch," Pitino mentioned. "But how can any of us complain with the run we've been on?"
Louisville's string of Closing Fours will end at two, and there will likely be a brand new national champion.
Making this win much more impressive for the Wildcats: They played almost all the sport with out Willie Cauley-Stein, an NBA-caliber forward who damage his left ankle early.
"It's not a superb ankle damage, let me simply put it that means," Calipari mentioned.
One other NBA prospect, James Young, fouled out with 5:32 left.
That left it to Harrison, his twin brother, Andrew (14 factors), and Randle, a lottery pick in waiting who was a monster inside. He had 12 rebounds to go along with the 15 points. He has had a double-double in all three match games.
Calipari makes no apologies for recruiting the perfect expertise and taking his probabilities they will depart before they actually arrange shop at Kentucky. That technique helped him convey the eighth national title again house two years ago. Now, Kentucky is a win away from this system's sixteenth trip to the Ultimate Four.