The UConn Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in a thrilling climax to the college basketball season. The score doesn’t tell the whole story, the Huskies dominated the early exchanges but then something happened. UConn got rattled and the Wildcats roared back into the game, but they never managed to get the lead. The impeccable shooting of Shabazz Napier managed to keep them at bay. Ryan Boatright’s ankle injury didn’t seem to affect him too much either as he played his heart out. The University of Kentucky and Coach John Calipari can hold their heads high, James Young’s unstoppable dunk was arguably the play of the game and Alex Poythress did his best to drag the freshman forward. Alas, it wasn’t to be. This will not be the last we see of this team. But for now, it’s UConn’s moment, it’s Shabazz’s moment. Enjoy it boys.
Here’s how it went down:
Some 3s From UConn Kept the Wildcats at Bay
When UK cut UConn’s lead to one, UConn responded with a couple of threes from Shabazz Napier and Niels Giffey. But DeAndre Daniels, still not on his game, missed his shot to break the run. Julius Randle got fouled on the next possession and made to frees to keep the game alive for the Wildcats.
Watch the First Half Highlights Here
Where were you?
Ryan Boatright Picked Up an Injury
Boatright looked like he rolled his ankle as he went to collect the ball. This was something the Huskies did not need especially with DeAndre Daniels looking off his game having committed a shooting foul and missing a jumper within the previous minute. Boatright remained on the floor. Apparently he told Kevin Ollie that he’s going to tough it out.
VIDEO: James Young Just Hit the Dunk of the Night
And he got fouled while he was doing it. Young made the free throw. The game never really settled into a pattern in the second half. And here it is in Gif form:
Shabbaz Napier Pushed Ryan Boatright
In a sign of how rattled UConn looked, Shabbaz Napier just shoved Ryan Boatright. It looked agressive and Boatright looked shocked. Napier though didn’t let him distract him as he scored two free throws.
John Calipari Was Loving It
UConn were sloppy at the start of the second with UK cutting the deficit to one at 37-36. James Young, Dakari Johnson and Julius Randle have been winning rebounds for fun. UConn Kevin Ollie said at half-time that his team would have to go one-better than UK when he was reminded that the Wildcats are a second half team. They needed to step up.
The Wildcats Were Roaring at the Half
In the last few minutes of the first, John Calipari’s young team have showed amazing energy to come back into this one. Julius Randle was moving better and even made an Andre Harrison assisted layup. He missed a resulting free throw to leave the halftime score at 35-31. Aaron Harrison’s first half steal and dunk deserves another half-time viewing:
Everbody Had a Good Time
There Was a Five Point Flurry From UK
Finally someone reminded UK that they were still in this game. After a couple of Niles Giffey free-throws for UConn, James Young made a 3-point shot from 24 feet before a steal and an Aaron Harrison dunk. UConn took a timeout. James Young and Andrew Harrison stepped it up some more with couple of 3-pointers to make it an 11-3 run with 2:24 left in the first half.
It Was Shooting Exhibition at Times
Beginning with Napier’s 3-pointers on 8:29 that made the score 24-12 to UConn. Andrew Harrison upped the ante with a three of his own for UK. Then DeAndre Daniels joined in the fun with a jump shot from 12 feet out bringing us to 26-12 with 7:15 left in the first half. James Young broke the hot shooting by missing a 23-foot 3 pointer.
This Game Heated Up at 10 Mins
That was pretty special from Ryan Boatright. But just after Alex Poythress went down to the other end of the court and dunked all over UConn. Ryan Boatright didn’t seem too bothered though as he made a 19 foot jump shot just five seconds later. Here’s Poythress’ dunk in Vine form:
Napier is Looking Hot
Shabazz Napier hit a smooth 24-foot 3-point jumper to bring the Huskies on a 7-0 run. His mother would be proud. A couple of free-throws from Randle breaks UConn’s streak. Meanwhile, UK Coach John Calipari is all:
Julius Randle Came Out Early
An early blow for UK. Julius Randle who injured his ankle against Wisconsin has come out of the game early on. He’s been limping along the injured leg during his warm-up.
First Blood to UConn
Ryan Boatright gets on the board first with a nice layup shot. A few seconds later DeAndre Daniels missed a 16-foot jumper. He made a amends with a sweet dunk a few minutes later. A quick lay-up followed from Niels Giffey followed. Kevin Ollie has got to be loving this.
UConn is Ready to Go
They’re pumped. Are you?
This Is How Aaron Harrison Does it
Aaron Harrison has been the Wildcats’ clutch hero with game-winning shots in their last three games. This is how he does it. Is tonight his night?
Drake is a Fan
Wow, Drake really likes those UK boys. He made an appearance at their game on Saturday against Wisconsin and was roundly booed by the crowd. But you can’t keep him away it seems:
Are You as Excited as This Cheerleader?
Now that’s excitement.
Connecticut will line-up like this from the start: Phillip Nolan, DeAndrew Daniels, Niles Giffey, Ryan Boatright, and Shabazz Napier.
Kentucky will be: James Young, Andre Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle, and Dakari Johnson.
So it all comes down to this. The UConn Huskies and the Kentucky Wildcats do battle at the AT&T arena in Arlington, Texas. You can watch all the action from 9:10 p.m. on CBS. But if you can’t and you’re not in Texas, then this is the next best thing. The oddsmakers make UK the marginal favorites but UConn and Shabazz Napier have thrived with the underdog tag so far in this tournament. This is a tough one to call.