March 31, 2012
Wildcats advance to NCAA title game
By Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency
NEW ORLEANS - The star-laden Kentucky Wildcats did a lot of things wrong, but still managed to book a date at Monday’s NCAA title game thanks to player of the year Anthony Davis.
Rick Pitino’s gritty, never-say-die Louisville squad refused to go away, but in the end could not mount one final comeback, allowing the Wildcats to escape with a 69-61 victory.
Kentucky, 37-2, shot 57.1% from the field, Louisville, 30-10, just 34.8%, yet the outcome was in doubt for the vast majority of the contest.
But Davis, spectacular in the first half and good enough, finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a 7-for-8 shooting performance, including a ridiculous alley-oop conversion from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the final minute.
Kentucky shot just 11-for-20 from the free throw line and was outrebounded 19-6 on the offensive glass and turned the ball over 14 times, yet still managed to pull out a game they were heavily favoured to win in front of a raucous, pro-Wildcats crowd at the Superdome.
Kentucky got out to a 10-point lead early and the game looked like it would be a laugher, but as they have done all season, the Cardinals rallied. The team lost four of six games down the stretch before winning the Big East tournament and was down 18 points to Florida in the Elite 8 before coming back to take that game.
Louisville trailed 35-28 at the half but managed to square the game with 9:12 remaining.
However, the Davis-Kidd-Gilchrist combination was too much and the Wildcats moved on to face the Ohio State-Kansas winner.