Men's basketball: Wildcats shock the Shockers
ST. LOUIS — In a game where the level of play was more like a national championship than the third round, Kentucky connected with the last haymaker to send the only unbeaten team in Division I home.
Forward James Young’s 3-pointer with 1:38 left put the No. 8 Wildcats ahead for good and they edged top-seeded Wichita State 78-76 in the Midwest Region’s third round on Sunday at the raucous Scottrade Center.
Guard Andrew Harrison scored 20 points for Kentucky (26-10) and guard and twin brother Aaron Harrison added 19. Forward Julius Randle stuffed the stat sheet for 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Young finished with 13 points.
Andrew Harrison’s foul shot with 7.2 seconds remaining gave the Wildcats a two-point lead. The Shockers called timeout with 3.0 ticks on the clock to set up their last shot, but guard Fred VanVleet’s 3-pointer for the win was wide right as the horn sounded.
Wichita State (35-1) was trying to become the first men’s team in college basketball history to go 40-0, a feat the Baylor women accomplished two years ago. Instead, the Shockers, despite connecting on 55.1 percent of their shots from the field, failed to quiet skeptics who said their unbeaten record was a product of playing in a weakened Missouri Valley Conference.
Kentucky moves into a regional semifinal against arch-rival Louisville on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a rematch of a Dec. 28 game won by the Wildcats 73-66 in Rupp Arena.
Forward Cleanthony Early scored a game-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field for Wichita State and guard Ron Baker tallied 20, including a banked 3-pointer with 29.3 seconds left that brought it within 75-74.
The Shockers led 37-31 at the half as both teams hit 54.2 percent from the floor. The differences were Kentucky’s eight turnovers to Wichita State’s four, and the Shockers’ 8-1 advantage in free throws.