We all know life isn't fair for the mid-majors. "I just contested well". Fox was called for the foul while Shamet was in the shooting motion, and three made free throws erased Kentucky's lead down to two points. "We just couldn't pull it off". "After that, my teammates were like, 'Are you good?' I was like, 'I'm good.' I went back in the huddle, Coach talking and went back out there, the same mentality I had before".
"They're young, but they have a will to win and play with courage and are skilled basketball players and great kids who share", coach John Calipari said.
"It entered my mind when they messed around with the ball, but I hadn't said anything", he said.
"I think they got in the 1-3-1, some type of defense", Fox said. But these guys guarded it.
The Wildcats (31-5) took a 58-51 lead with 4:06 remaining when freshman De'Aaron Fox made a steal near midcourt and drove for an uncontested dunk, prompting a Wichita State timeout, but the Shockers rallied, pulling to within 63-62 on freshman Shamet's 3-pointer with 55.7 seconds remaining.
Wichita State needed a leader - Shamet knew head coach Gregg Marshall wouldn't replace his veteran backcourt over night, but Shamet knew leaders would emerge. "We had a couple of really bad passes that fueled their transition". The Shockers never got another good shot at the basket. The Shockers finish 31-5.
Even though UCLA is an offensive contraption built to break your spirit and gas you to empty, the Wildcats will beat the Bruins if they play defense as consistently on Friday as they did this past Sunday.
United Kingdom guard Malik Monk hit two free throws with 10.6 seconds left to give the Cats a 65-62 lead - and set what would ultimately be the final score - and the Shockers, with no timeouts left, took the ball out of bounds to set up the final play. Three years ago, the Shockers were 35-0 when they played Kentucky - also in the second round - and lost 78-76.
Shamet finished with a team-high 20 points, including 13 in the final seven minutes while directing a spirited WSU rally, but afterward he took full responsibility for the ineffective final attempt.
You would say Bam Adebayo's block of Landry Shamet's attempted three-pointer at game's end. "But I didn't do what I was supposed to do in the end". "Bam got most of it, but I got a little bit of it". Two blue bloods meeting like this after United Kingdom did what it rarely does: lose a home game in non-conference play. That's far and away the longest win streak of anyone left in the NCAA Tournament.
Against the tough, physical play from Wichita State, it was UK's freshmen who sealed the game.
- The Shockers' starting lineup is comprised entirely of underclassmen.
Kentucky and Wichita State are tangled in a physical game with the Wildcats up 26-24 at halftime in Indianapolis.
- The Wildcats won their third consecutive SEC regular-season championship and their 48th in school history. Morris scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.