Ken­tucky’s per­fect sea­son comes crash­ing down

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Wis­con­sin ended Ken­tucky’s bid to be­come the first col­lege bas­ket­ball team to re­main un­de­feated in nearly 40 years, beat­ing the Wild­cats 71-64 be­hind 20 points and 11 re­bounds from Frank Kamin­sky.

Wis­con­sin will play Duke, an 81- 61 win­ner over Michi­gan State in the ear­lier semi­fi­nal, at the same venue on Mon­day night.

“It gives us an­other 40 min­utes, I know that,” said Wis­con­sin coach Bo Ryan, who leads the Badgers to their first fi­nal since 1941.

And Ken­tucky has a long ride home, fin­ish­ing the sea­son at 38-1 — two wins short of be­com­ing the first un­de­feated team in col­lege bas­ket­ball since the 1975- 76 In­di­ana Hoosiers. In­stead, th­ese NBA-ready group of Wild­cats join the star- stud­ded 1991 UNLV team as the lat­est to take an un­de­feated record into the Fi­nal Four but lose in the semi­fi­nals.

Trail­ing by four and gasp­ing for breath af­ter go­ing 6 min­utes with­out a bucket, the Badgers (36-3) re­sponded with an 8-0 run to take a lead Ken­tucky couldn’t over­come.

Kamin­sky and Bron­son Koenig went 7 for 8 from the line over the last 24 sec­onds to seal the win.

Ken­tucky’s last, best chance came while trail­ing by three with 12 sec­onds left. But Karl-An­thony Towns re­ceived the ball in the post and got fouled. He made only one free throw, and from there, Wis­con­sin clinched it from the foul-line.

Ear­lier Satur­day, Jus­tise Winslow scored 19 points and Jahlil Okafor added 18 to lead topseeded Duke to an 81-61 victory over Michi­gan State on Satur­day and a shot at its fifth na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Winslow, who played through some early foul trou­ble, had nine re­bounds and was 5 for 7 from the field, while Okafor grabbed six re­bounds and was 7 for 11 from the field.

Se­nior Quinn Cook had 17 points for the Blue Devils, who dom­i­nated the game ex­cept for the open­ing min­utes when they trailed 14-6.

De­fen­sively, it was a team ef­fort, just the way coach Mike Krzyzewski has stressed for his 35 sea­sons at Duke. What had been wide open 3-point­ers early for Michi­gan State be­came con­tested shots and when the Blue Devils started get­ting up and on the Spar­tans, the points were sud­denly tough to come by.

Den­zel Valen­tine fin­ished with 22 points, which in­cluded hit­ting three quick 3-point­ers in the first quar­ter to give the No.7 seed Michi­gan State an early lead.

Trice scored 16 points and Bran­den Daw­son added 12 for the Spar­tans.

AP

1. Duke’s Quinn Cook, right, is fouled by Michi­gan State’s Marvin Clark Jr. #0 while driv­ing to the bas­ket dur­ing the sec­ond half of the NCAA Fi­nal Four tour­na­ment col­lege bas­ket­ball semi­fi­nal game in In­di­anapo­lis on Satur­day, April 4.

2. The Wis­con­sin bench cel­e­brates as Ken­tucky’s Wil­lie Cauley-Stein walks off af­ter the NCAA Fi­nal Four tour­na­ment col­lege bas­ket­ball semi­fi­nal game in In­di­anapo­lis on Satur­day.

3. Ken­tucky’s Trey Lyles #41 dunks the ball ahead of Wis­con­sin’s Zak Showalter dur­ing the first half of the NCAA Fi­nal Four tour­na­ment col­lege bas­ket­ball semi­fi­nal game in In­di­anapo­lis on Satur­day.

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