BOZICH | Kentucky Again; Aaron Harrison Again
ARLINGTON, Texas (WDRB) – It was just like the Wichita State game. And the Louisville game. And the Michigan game. It was just like every game that the University of Kentucky has played in the NCAA Tournament.
Back-and-forth. Take the lead. Lose the lead. Make a shot. Give up a shot.
You know how the story ends. The same way it has ended for three straight games – Aaron Harrison dagger three-pointer. Kentucky advances.
First Harrison shot down Louisville. Then he shot down Michigan. Now you can add the three-pointer that Aaron Harrison made from the left wing with 5.7 seconds to go to his legends.
His three-pointer – off a pass from his brother Andrew – went in.
Traevon Jackson's 15-footer at the buzzer for the Badgers rimmed out.
Kentucky 74, Wisconsin 73 in a game played about as well as a college basketball game can be played. Kentucky has won five NCAA tournament games by seven points or less.
"I've hit some big shots down the stretch," Aaron Harrison said. "We fight so hard. We're so resilient."
"Whoever had the ball last that could make a shot was going to win the game," UK coach John Calipari said.
Now Kentucky, an eight seed, will play Connecticut, a seven seed, for UK's ninth national title Monday night. Mark it down as a meeting of the two lowest seeds in championship game history.
That's right, Connecticut – the seven-seed from the East Regional. The team that Louisville beat by three times, by at least 10 points in each of those games.
Florida lost to UConn on Dec. 2. Then the Gators won 30 straight, rolling through the Southeastern Conference. The 30-game winning streak ended Saturday night. Credit UConn, which handled Florida, 63-53.
The first half of the UK-Wisconsin game did not unfold according to the script. After 20 minutes, the Wildcats trailed, 40-36. Mark it down as the fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament game that Kentucky failed to lead at halftime.
Kentucky played defense as well as defense can be played against Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky.
Kaminsky came to the Final Four averaging 18.5 points in Wisconsin's first four NCAA Tournament games. He scored two points in the first half against Kentucky. He shook free for one shot. One.
You figured that if Kaminsky scored only two points in a half, Kentucky would be cruising.
You figured wrong.
Wisconsin led, 40-36, at halftime. If the Wildcats had all the answers for Kaminsky, they had none of the answers for Bronson Koenig.
Who's Bronson Koenig?
I figured you would ask. He's Wisconsin's seventh man, a back-up freshman guard. Koenig averaged 3.3 points this season. He only scored in double figures three times all year. Koenig hung 11 points on the Wildcats in the first half.
Make a note that the Badgers also made all 14 of their free throws and four three-point shots, and the Wildcats were fortunate to trail by only four points.
They trailed, 34-25, but sliced the lead to four by halftime. Credit James Young and Julius Randle. Both freshmen scored nine points in the first half.
Now Kentucky gets Connecticut Monday night in the NCAA Tournament.
Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.