LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When talking repeatedly throughout the season about his Freshman-laden team learning and growing and getting better, John Calipari paused about six weeks ago to remind people on several occassions, "it might not happen". It turns out it might.
Cal's kids showed all the guts and togetherness that had been lacking throughout much of the frustrating season, hitting free throws and making key plays down the stretch of a 78-76 win over previously unbeaten Wichita State. Kentucky (26-10) now gets a sweet sixteen shot against rival Louisville Friday in Indianapolis.
In a game that seemed a lot more like a region final or final four game, UK trailed by nine after Cleanthony Early hit a three to start the second half. Early made 12-of-17 shots, 4-of-6 from deep and finished with 31 points. The Cats scored 10 straight to take the lead on an Alex Poythress drive. From there the lead and the momentum shifted back and forth as each team tried to top the other with big plays and big shots.
The Harrison twins led the Wildcat scoring. Andrew shook off his injured right elbow to score 20 points, with brother Aaron totaling 19. Both hit big free throws in the closing moments to keep the Cats on top.
Wichita State (35-1) had one last chance to tie or win. They had the ball out of bounds with 3.2 seconds to go. A contested three from Fred VanVleet was off the mark and the Wildcats celebrated a trip to Indy.
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