Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Free throw misses hurt Kentucky

ARLINGTON, Texas — Another team coached by John Calipari was done in at the line.

After shooting free throws well much of the season, Kentucky wilted when it mattered most in Monday night's NCAA final.

Kentucky was 13-of-24 from the line, including missing its final three attempts when the game was still hanging in the balance. The last of them, a miss by Alex Poythress, would have cut the Wildcats' deficit against UConn to 56-53 with 3:47 left.

Their free-throw struggles brought back memories of the 2008 title game, when a Memphis team coached by Calipari struggled down the stretch against Kansas.

In that game, the Jayhawks trailed late and started fouling the poor-shooting Tigers. Memphis missed four of its final five free throws as Kansas rallied to win.

James Young was 8-of-9 from the line for Kentucky and finished with 20 points. But the rest of the team was 5-for-15, including Julius Randle (4-of-7) and Dakari Johnson (1-of-4).

Their best free-throw shooters, Aaron and Andrew Harrison, got to the line once — and Aaron missed.

The Wildcats shot 68 percent from the line for the season and had only shot worse than they did Monday three times. Asked whether that decided the game, Aaron replied, "Maybe so."

Irrelevant seeds: The championship game was the first between a No. 7 seed and a No. 8, but some experts said the changing college basketball landscape has rendered tournament seeding much less important. "I think it's irrelevant now because I think it's hard to evaluate realistically how good a team is," said John Thompson, former longtime Georgetown coach and now an analyst with Westwood One Sports Radio. "You can't just statistically look at a group of people and say that this is the best team any more. You have to have some knowledge of the development, particularly the young teams. Young teams develop, as Kentucky did. Young teams develop as they go along."

To stay or go? One of the biggest issues surrounding Florida's team is the status of freshman F/C Chris Walker.

Walker missed the first three months of the season because of NCAA rules violations that occurred before his arrival in Gainesville. He played his first game on Feb. 4 vs. Missouri and ultimately played just 87 minutes all season. Yet, he's projected by some as a first-round NBA pick.

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who covered numerous Gators games this season and saw Walker in person, said it would be a mistake for him to leave.

"He'll be sitting on the bench," Vitale said. "And I'll tell you what he ought to take a look at: You can play yourself out of the league after three years and be a nobody (like) the kid that went to Kentucky — Daniel Orton. Someone will take him in the first round and he'll sit the bench, and that's sad. He's not ready."

Orton did little after he was the Magic's first-round pick in 2010.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Free throw misses hurt Kentucky 04/07/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.