INDIANAPOLIS – Bam Adebayo had a double-double and swatted away the final shot on Sunday as Kentucky sent Wichita State to yet another second-round heartbreak, 65-62 in the NCAA Tournament.
The youngest team in March Madness grew up in the closing minutes.
Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox had 14 points, including a late steal and dunk. Malik Monk blocked a shot and made a pair of free throws in the final 13 seconds. Adebayo clinched it by blocking Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer shot at the buzzer.
Yes, Kentucky’s freshman trio did it all.
Wham, Bam, move on `Cats (31-5), right into the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in nine years.
And wipe tears away again, Shockers (31-5).
Three years ago, Wichita State was 35-0 when it lost to Kentucky in the second round, crestfallen after Fred Van Vleet’s 3-pointer missed at the buzzer of Kentucky’s 78-76 win. This time, their attempt at a tying 3 never had a chance. Shamet finished with 20 points.
Wichita State: Coach Gregg Marshall referred to Adebayo as “a mountain of a man” and someone the Shockers had to control to have a chance. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound freshman had 15 points and 18 rebounds — the third-most for Kentucky in an NCAA Tournament game — during an opening win over Northern Kentucky. The Shockers limited him to two points and five rebounds in the first half, but lost track of him a couple times early in the second half for dunks that got him started.
Kentucky: Monk missed all of his six shots from beyond the arc and finished with 12 points in the opening-round victory. Coach John Calipari later said he’s been limited by a bruised lower back. Against the Shockers, he was 3 of 10 in 29 minutes.
The rematch marked only the second time in NCAA Tournament history that a pair of 30-win teams played in the first weekend. On March 24, 2008, No. 2 Tennessee (30-4) beat No. 7 Butler (30-3) in overtime 76-71 in the second round.
Kentucky faces No. 3 UCLA or No. 6 Cincinnati next Friday in Memphis, the site of the South Regional.