NCAA: Kentucky rejects Wichita State's upset bid

Beth Cruz
March 21, 2017

Bam Adebayo was told he was going to get shut down on Sunday afternoon against the Shockers and was the best player on the floor for either team, racking up his second double-double in as many NCAA Tournament games for Kentucky, but it was his combo defense with Dominique Hawkins on Landry Shamet that iced the victory. "We knew we couldn't foul. When I saw there was nobody there and I had a clear lane, I just took it". "I just contested well".

"We were just playing defense", Adebayo said.

"I was thinking he was going to pump-fake the whole time", Hawkins said.

Throughout the week, Kentucky coach John Calipari had touted Adebayo's selflessness and willingness to defer to his teammates. "As soon as he went to jump, I blocked it". "If we lose a game, I don't want people saying, 'They were freshmen, they couldn't do this, they couldn't do that.' That's done with". But these guys guarded it. "He's pretty versatile. Played him more as a driver, so you kind of knew when he wanted to get to the rim and play off the dribble".

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.

A video of Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's wife, Lynn, at Sunday's Shockers-Kentucky game made the rounds on Twitter and raised some eyebrows. "We had a couple of really bad passes that fueled their transition". On Markis' shot, I wish we would have driven to the basket.

Is it fair Wichita State was a No. 10 seed? Marshall is 260-90 at Wichita State including six straight tournament appearances, three Sweet Sixteens, and one Final Four appearance. The Shockers finish 31-5. Bump the Wildcats forward in your NCAA Tournament bracket into the Sweet Sixteen They get a rematch with UCLA Friday night in Memphis. The Wildcats also almost lost a seven-point lead late in the second half and shot just 42 percent from the field.

"He's an National Basketball Association guard", Shamet said. "Wish things went different at the end, but that's how the game goes".

A little over two weeks ago, MI got a scare when its charter plane skidded on an aborted takeoff because of high winds.

Calipari lauded the play by Monk and said his shooting guard is on the brink of an offensive breakout. Mychal Mulder's first points - from beyond the 3-point arc - increased the Kentucky advantage to 14-8. The 2014 team was 3-0 against Pomeroy top 50 teams, beating #48 BYU, #10 Tennessee, and # 35 Saint Louis. Fox, with emphasis, flushed the dunk and ignited the crowd as Kentucky pulled ahead to lead by seven points with four minutes left in play.

Next game: Kentucky vs. Wichita State, NCAA Tournament, 2:40 p.m., Sunday.

Greg Marshall was asked specifically about how Wichita State would look as a program around the country.

- The Shockers' starting lineup is comprised entirely of underclassmen.

The two last-minute defensive stands came three years after the Wildcats ended Wichita State's ideal season with a 78-67 victory in an NCAA second-round contest in St. Louis and this finish was equally exciting.

- The Wildcats won their third consecutive SEC regular-season championship and their 48th in school history. For the 13th game in a row, Kentucky's fabulous freshmen had their hands all over another win.

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