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Adebayo’s double-double, key blocks help Cats advance

Bam Adebayo (Vicky Graff Photo)

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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

TOURNAMENT RARITY

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.

UP NEXT

Kentucky faces No. 3 UCLA or No. 6 Cincinnati next Friday in Memphis, the site of the South Regional.

5 comments

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  1. Cats79

    Hell’va defense by our cats. That’s what’s been carry us the 10 or so games. I’m anxious what coach Mike has to say dogging our cats.

  2. Mike

    I was hoping you would leave a sleeping dog rest. Coach Mike was going to give all of you some rest from posting tonight but here goes…….I was thinking we were going to lose before the game and also during and don’t think I am solo with that thinking. It was a great win and kudos to the defense for starting to show improved play the last couple of games. It was great to see Willis show some productivity on both sides, and I hope that will continue if we are to continue. Bam has been taking a lot more ownership with his rebounding, but I think can still be more demanding for the ball. The 3 guards were very good but Fox and Monk have to do better than 8-23 for the game. Humphries and Wenyan (1 fluke game) Gabriel continue to be bodies on the bench but liabilities when they hit the court. They both get a rebound or two and contribute nothing offensively. I still wish we had a sense of urgency and the ability to increase a lead and put somebody away. We are winning on the edge and escaping with the W, but it is what it is. We live to fight another day.

  3. Persimmon Knob

    Wasn’t your quote something like “UF goes to the Sweet 16, UK goes home”?
    Sorry it all turned out so badly but maybe your coaching gig will open at a later date. Keep those old.” Ditch Mitch&Rich” bumper stickers ! Maybe be of some use…………some day.

  4. Larry Pup

    Big win for the Cats. I was concerned about this game. WSU had an ax to grind with UK from the past elimination, and fought hard, but the Cats got it done and on to Memphis they go. That weak SEC…. (yeah right) …..is doing pretty well, and had Ark. not got robbed in their game against the cheating Tarheels, they would have 4 teams in the sweet 16 right now. I suppose UNC will never pay for their cheating ways with the fake classes, etc. dating all the way back to the Dean Smith era. That has been swept under the rug and buried, and nothing will ever come of their total disrespect for fair play and the rules of the game. The NCAA is a joke. Good to see the Dukies laid low also. They got a taste of Frank Martin coaching. The ACC is getting their clocks cleaned by the weak SEC. The so called “weak” SEC as explained all season by the so called basketball experts.

  5. Cats79

    Amen Larry!

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