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Kentucky 74, Wisconsin 73: Wildcats Advance to Final

UK ended up on the right side of an evening thriller in Arlington.

Jamie Squire

Wisconsin gave Aaron Harrison a three with under 10 seconds to go. He took it and sent Kentucky to the national final with a 74-73 win.

Wisconsin actually controlled the game pretty well early. The Badgers took the lead at 11-9 five minutes into the game and kept it the rest of the way until halftime. The second half was a back-and-forth affair consisting of more runs than standard play. After Sam Dekker hit a three to get things going, UK scored 15 straight points to take a 51-43 lead. The Badgers countered with a 17-6 run of their own to get a 60-57 lead. The teams traded buckets with UW edging ahead, but a 9-2 run from UK headlined by some great plays from Alex Poythress put the Wildcats back ahead 71-69.

After Frank Kaminsky tied it and Andrew Harrison missed a three, it looked as though Wisconsin might salt this one away. Traevon Jackson baited Harrison into leaving his feet as the shot clock approached zero with 16 seconds to go. Jackson, after an uncalled travel, jumped into Harrison to pick up the cheap foul from behind the arc. He made two of three, giving his team a 73-71 lead. On its last chance, Kentucky had Aaron Harrison dribble the clock down and take a three. He connected with 5.7 seconds to go, and a Jackson jumper failed on the other end to allow UK to survive.

James Young led UK in scoring with 17, while Julius Randle had 16 points despite tweaking his ankle at one point. Poythress had a great game off the bench with eight points and seven boards. Dekker and Ben Brust each had 15 for Wisconsin, while Jackson had 12. Jackson's missed free throw right at the end was the only one the Badgers missed all night.

I wouldn't call UK a team of destiny. It has won a lot of games its seeding says it shouldn't have, but that says more about the people doing the seeding than anything. It was a late blooming team, one that needed a lot of the year to get its winning formula down pat. Now, it gets to face UConn in the national final on Monday night.

It's been quite the run through the tournament, and Kentucky will get one more chance to entertain us.