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Kentucky over Wisconsin, 74-73, to play for title

Kentucky Gets Another Close Win

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

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

"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's the third straight game the Kentucky freshman has made a 3 for the go-ahead points in this magical ride for the Wildcats (29-10), and the second straight time the pass has come from his brother for a shot from the left center of the arc.

Traevon Jackson had a last-second shot to try to beat the Wildcats, but the desperation jumper rimmed out and once again Harrison found himself at the bottom of a dog pile at center court.

Eighth-seeded Kentucky will play seventh-seeded UConn in the final Monday - the highest seed total to play for the title since they started putting numbers by the names back 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 it was that one miss that cost the Badgers. Jackson got Andrew Harrison to jump into him while attempting a 3-pointer with 16.4 seconds left. His first free throw rimmed out, and - after he made the next two - Wisconsin had a 73-71 lead and Kentucky had the ball.

Any doubt where it was going?

Against Louisville in the regional 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, there were 2.3 seconds on the clock and Harrison was a few steps over to the left when he took the pass from his brother. The ball clanged in and he trotted backward and pumped his hands in the air.

A few minutes later, he was hugging his mom in the stands.

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

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

But 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 their first appearance in the final since 1941.

Instead, it's Kentucky going for its ninth national title and second in three years, with an almost completely rebuilt roster from 2012. It's the way Calipari does it, like it or not.

His star during this run: Aaron Harrison, who has first-round potential, though it won't be his final numbers in this game - eight points, three rebounds - that will impress the scouts as much as his final shot.

Join the discussion

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Mike April 06 2014 at 12:57 PM

Nothing against the UK players, but not big fan of the one and done situation. Don't think is is very good for the college game and very few make it big in the NBA so end up out of school on top of it. Hard to follow a team when they lose 2 -4 starters every year.

How Calipari pulls these freshman together shows what a good "college" coach he is though. He'll get another shot in the pro's I'd imagine.

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1 reply
wayne8734 Mike April 06 2014 at 7:34 PM

Mike,I'm a big UK fan but I don't like the one and done players either but until the NBA changes,it's Coach Cal's job to recruit the best players he can.Many of the other coach's have tried to recruit them as well,with little success.

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oldcat April 06 2014 at 9:10 AM

Calipari recruits extremely talented high school athletes who are determined to go to the NBA as soon as possible and he provides them an excellent stepping stone to get there. Ask any one of them if it is easy to play for Coach Cal and they will tell you he is brutal on them as he prepares them for what lies ahead in the NBA. That is why they come to him, because they know he will make them a better player and increase their chances in the draft. Like it or not that is the Calipari system and right now it is working just fine and scoring wins. Go BIG Blue!

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dan1976trojan April 06 2014 at 6:33 AM

It's good for any school to play well and win for their program but also good for the kids to stay in that school and get an education. After all it was that school and coach that recruited them to play for 4 years actually not the one and done like a lot do now. Some may play well in school but a lot rougher and a whole new ball game in the Not Basketball Anymore league.

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georgesonthebay April 06 2014 at 6:42 AM

I nlive in FL - GO UConn!!!

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kitchenswindow April 06 2014 at 12:18 PM

One last comment on last night's KY / WI game. The referee's did their best to screw the Wildcats out of the victory with that bogus (3) point foul where the WI player dove into the KY player. Well, oh well, fate wins out over bad calls...Badger Boy missed the front end of the (3) points at the charity stripe...too bad, so sad.

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2 replies
alanrosner kitchenswindow April 06 2014 at 2:57 PM

Those Kentucky players should consider going to college. U of K, fueled by coal.

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dollyocc kitchenswindow April 06 2014 at 3:07 PM

he is a great player..you miss a few..oh well..that wasn't the game...
and the refs did have a few bad .sad calls ..in favor of the winners...

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Jessi April 06 2014 at 7:21 AM

waaaahhh. The 'cats' won, by one point. Get over it. It's just a GAME! Both teams were good. The entertainment factor is phenomenal. Who cares, really, who wins? I just love the playoffs because it's some damn fine basketball playing.

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lfbethke April 06 2014 at 12:19 PM

ON WISCONSIN!!!! Great State, Great College, And Great in everything else we do here!!!! Next year!

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2 replies
kitchenswindow lfbethke April 06 2014 at 12:24 PM

Yep, good game. There's always next year...but NOT this year. Go Cats!!

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vinceraneri lfbethke April 06 2014 at 12:38 PM

I doubt that

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redoak58 April 06 2014 at 12:22 PM

Being true blue SEC, Go Cats!!!

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rbell72981 April 06 2014 at 8:08 AM

One of the best tourneys ever. Close game after close game. Even though I think the comm. messed up the seeding and shafted Wichita State. GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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sunderlandjim April 06 2014 at 9:18 AM

Being a UK Grad (from the mid-sixties) I miss having my heros play more then just one year.. I'd
rather see the young persons grow and develop their skills for at least several years. These players
are rarely ready to leap into the pro's... Too many get drafted, maybe play a year or so and then disappear.... The college experience is much more then winning a cup.. The most sucessful persons are those that recognize that the education, friends developed in college, and the maturing lead to long-term sucess...

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2 replies
rdcabe sunderlandjim April 06 2014 at 9:40 AM

So true. A young man thrown into a leauge like the NBA. With many years of on court and off court knowledge over whelm the young men and actually stunt any real future progress. Young men should stay the course of education and natural developement with there peers. And entry the NBA more mature mentally and physicaly with the fundimentals of basketball down pat. In the long run they would be better suited for a longer basketball career and something to do when father time calls them into retirement.

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oldcat sunderlandjim April 06 2014 at 9:41 AM

I totally agree, but until the NCAA agrees and does something about it nothing is going to change. Very hard to convince these young men who only have $$ on their minds and want to start acquiring it as soon as possible. Would be nice if the NBA would not draft players until they finished collage but that is not going to happen. They do not care about the long term welfare of the player, only what they can get out of them now to fund their coffers. It is big business.

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