Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Kentucky beats Wisconsin in Final Four

ARLINGTON, Texas — No, this was not an instant replay, though it is turning into a highlight reel Kentucky and Aaron Harrison could get used to watching over and over.

Harrison took a pass from his twin brother, Andrew, spotted up from NBA range and hit a 3-pointer for the lead with 5.7 seconds left to lift the Wildcats to a 74-73 victory over Wisconsin in the Final Four on Saturday night.

"You can't be scared to miss, and you want to be that guy that wants to take the big shots," Aaron Harrison said.

It was the third straight game in which the freshman had made a 3 for the go-ahead points for Kentucky (29-10) and the second straight time the pass came come from his brother for a shot from the left center of the arc.

Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson had a last-second shot to try to beat the Wildcats, but the desperation jumper rimmed out.

Eighth-seeded Kentucky plays No. 7 Connecticut in Monday's final, the highest seed total to play for the title since the NCAA started assigning seeds in 1979.

"I know how good they are, but I don't know how they play," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of his next opponent.

Wisconsin (30-8) set a Final Four record by going 95 percent from the free-throw line, 19-for-20.

But that one miss cost the Badgers. Jackson got Andrew Harrison to jump into him while trying a 3-pointer with 16.4 seconds left. His first free throw rimmed out, and after he made the next two, Wisconsin led 73-71.

Against Louisville in the Midwest Region semifinal, Aaron Harrison was open in the corner when Julius Randle found him. He hit the go-ahead 3 with 39.1 seconds left on the way to a 74-69 win.

Two nights later against Michigan in the region final, 2.3 seconds were on the clock and Harrison was a few steps over to the left when he took a pass from his brother. The ball clanged in, giving UK the winning margin in a 75-72 victory.

"It never comes down to just one possession," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "It was right there for (the Badgers). It's just the other team had one possession better."

One concern for Kentucky cropped up during its postgame celebration. Sophomore forward Alex Poythress appeared to have his left leg bent back as the Wildcat players piled up.

He was seen walking with an ice wrap shortly afterward.

When asked if he was hurt, Poythress said, "No, I just got caught in the bottom of the dog pile, but I'll be fine."

James Young led Kentucky with 17 points, and Randle finished with 16 but only five rebounds to snap his string of three straight double doubles.

Kentucky had an answer for Wisconsin's do-everything 7-footer, Frank Kaminsky, who was held to eight points and five rebounds.

Ben Brust and Sam Dekker had 15 each for the Badgers, who came up a game short of making their first appearance in the final since 1941.

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