Marcus Lee scored 10 points off the bench as Kentucky defeated Michigan Sunday.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WDRB) – For more than two hours, one player after another gave the University of Kentucky the plays the Wildcats had to make to defeat the University of Michigan to get to the NCAA Final Four.
But nobody made plays like the ones Aaron Harrison made.
Scoreless for nearly 32 minutes, Harrison made four contested, amazing, ridiculous, unforgettable three-point shots to push the Wildcats past the Wolverines, 75-72. Harrison scored 12 of Kentucky's final 20 points in a game that was as well-played as any game in this tournament.
Harrison saved his best for last – and the last 2.3 seconds. With Kentucky playing for the final shot, Harrison made his fourth and final three-pointer from the left wing.
The Wildcats inbounded the ball with 10 seconds to play. The ball worked its way to Harrison, the freshman shooting guard. He drove to a comfortable spot on the left wing.
Michigan defender Caris LaVert was close enough to smell Harrison's breath. Right there. Textbook defense. LaVert did nothing wrong. Harrison did everything right.
The shot was high. The shot was straight. The shot was money. It was good – just like the dagger that Aaron Harrison hit from the corner to beat Louisville Friday night.
And the shot was more than Michigan could overcome. The Wolverines managed a last-second heave by Nik Stauskas from mid-court. It hit the backboard, but nothing else.
"You people are craaazzy," Calipari said to Kentucky fans after the game. "I don't know how you're going to do it but I want to see you down in Dallas last week."
Kentucky will play Wisconsin Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA Final Four in suburban Dallas. Florida, champions of the Southeastern Conference, and Connecticut, will play in the other semifinal at AT&T Stadium.
The winners of the semifinal will meet in the national championship game on April 7.
The Wildcats have now beaten top-seed Wichita State, defending national champion Louisville and second-seed Michigan on the way to the Final Four. All three games came down to the final minute – two to the last possession.
The game was tied at 37 at the end of the first half after Kentucky rallied from a 32-22 deficit. James Young ignited that surge with a three-pointer from the right wing and then with a slash to the basket.
Michigan relied on the veteran play of Stauskas. He had 18 points in the first half, making a pair of three-point shots as well as six free throws. He played like a pro. He likely will be after this season because Stauskas, a sophomore, is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Marcus Lee played like a McDonald's all-American. Marcus Lee played like Anthony Davis. Marcus Lee played like he should have been getting more minutes all season.
Lee made five baskets in the first half. Marcus Lee had only made four baskets in the entire Southeastern Conference season – never more than one in any game.
The last time Lee had scored more than one basket in a game was Nov. 19 against Texas-Arlington. The only time he scored more than four baskets in a game was against North Carolina-Asheville.
That was Kentucky's opening game of the season.
But there he was Sunday. Dunk. Dunk. Dunk. Dunk. Driving layup.
Michigan had no answer for Marcus Lee. Michigan looked as if the Wolverines didn't even know the question that Lee was posing.
But in the end, it was Aaron Harrison that Michigan could not solve. Harrison scored 12 points and made the all tournament team with Lee (who had 10) and Julius Randle, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the regional. Randle had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
"It was just a great game," UK point guard Andrew Harrison said. "I was proud just be part of it."