It was a game that had been hyped since the brackets came out — before either team had even moved into the third round. For all the hype, the Midwest region round of 32 contest between Kentucky and Wichita State easily could have been a dud. It wasn’t. For almost the full 40 minutes, both teams matched each other blow for blow, with the eighth-seeded Wildcats outlasting the top-seeded Shockers, 78-76, on Saturday.
The game was a track meet from the start, and Kentucky trailed 37-31 at the break. After a quick three-pointer by Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early to start the second half, the Wildcats flipped the switch. Julius Randle had a putback dunk, Aaron Harrison hit a three and Randle picked up an and-one and the lead was back down to one. UK went ahead on an Alex Poythress layup, but Ron Baker grabbed it back for the Shockers with an and-one.