Sports

Kentucky, Aaron Harrison do it again with dramatic win over Wisconsin

SportsBasketballCollege BasketballKentucky WildcatsWisconsin BadgersNCAAAlex Poythress

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Last week, Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison told a crowd of reporters that nobody could tell his twin brother Aaron that he wasn’t the best.

Aaron Harrison proved it again.

For a third consecutive NCAA tournament game, the guard from Texas hit a game-deciding three-pointer.

It was his only long-range attempt of the game. Only six seconds remained. He had taken a pass from his brother standing near the sideline about 27 feet from the basket.

But the shot went in.

Of course it did.

Kentucky is advancing to the NCAA championship game after defeating Wisconsin, 74-73, in the Final Four on Saturday night.

The eighth-seeded Wildcats will face seventh-seeded Connecticut in Monday’s title game, where Kentucky will try to win for the second time in three seasons.

“I don’t think anyone in the world could’ve made that shot,” Andrew Harrison said.

Andrew said he saw his brother smile before he took the shot.

“Is he crazy?” Andrew Harrison said.

Said Dakari Johnson: “Every game has been like this. It’s crazy.”

The game was a thriller and required a comeback like every tournament game the Wildcats have played.

Wisconsin led by as many as nine points in the first half. Even after Kentucky stormed out of halftime and used a 15-0 run to take the lead, the Badgers weathered it with a 10-2 run and played the final 12 minutes in a back-and-forth battle.

Andrew Harrison had fired a three-pointer with less than a minute to play that missed. Wisconsin held a 73-71 lead with 16 seconds left when he then fouled Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson from the three-point line, but Jackson missed the first free throw before making the next two to set up Kentucky's final possession.

Jackson, who scored 12 points, misfired a last-second three-pointer for an attempt at redemption.

As Kentucky players tackled each other on a celebratory pile on the court, Jackson stood motionless and distraught, not moving until teammates helped him.

“Because coach said he wanted me to take the shot, I had confidence,” Aaron Harrison said. “To hit that shot, if that’s what I had to win, that’s what I had to do.”

The Wildcats dominated inside, outscoring Wisconsin by 22 points, 46-24, in the paint and 23-10 on second-chance points. They outrebounded Wisconsin, 32-27, including 11-6 on the offensive boards.

Forward James Young led the Wildcats with 17 points, while Julius Randle added 16 points and Dakari Johnson scored 10.

Alex Poythress put in another impressive performance off the bench with eight points off athletic dunks and finishes to go with seven rebounds.

Kentucky stifled Wisconsin 7-footer Frank Kaminsky, who finished with eight points, six of which came after halftime.

Sam Dekker and Ben Brust led the Badgers with 15 points apiece

The Wildcats are only the second team of five freshmen starters to play in the title game, harkening the days of Michigan’s Fab Five.

sryan@tribune.com

Twitter @sryantribune

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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SportsBasketballCollege BasketballKentucky WildcatsWisconsin BadgersNCAAAlex Poythress
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