Fast break: How Kentucky defeated Wichita State to reach NCAA's Sweet Sixteen

March 23, 2014 Updated 18 hours ago

Talking points

In a tournament that at times has been hard to watch, this one was championship-caliber. Both teams came out sharp and time-after-time responded. The Harrison twins helped UK to a 19-15 lead but the Shockers' execution showed why they were undefeated. Only a late James Young three-pointer kept UK within 37-31 at the half. Julius Randle started the second half in beast mode and UK went on a 10-0 run. A classic followed. The Cats could not stop Cleanthony Early, but UK kept answering and the teams traded leads. There were 19 points (11 by UK) scored in the final four minutes. James Young's three-pointer put UK up for good at 73-71, the Cats made key free throws and Fred VanVleet's last-second three-pointer missed.

Telling numbers

■ UK hit 54.2 percent from the field in the first half; 53.8 percent in the second half.

■ Wichita State hit 54.2 percent in the first half; 56 percent in the second half.

■ Combined, the teams were 18-for-39 on three-pointers.

■ UK made one foul shot in the first half; 15 in the second half.

■ After turning the ball over eight times in the first half, UK turned it over three in the second.

■ Freshmen scored 68 of UK's 78 points and all but four in the second half.

■ There were 14 lead changes and three ties.

■ Randle had more offensive rebounds (5) than Wichita State (4)

■ Kentucky did not attempt a free throw in the first 17 minutes.

■ UK's Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson did not attempt a shot in the first 17 minutes. They had one rebound in the first half.

■ Julius Randle had four assists, four rebounds and one basket the first half. He had six assists for the game.

■ In the first half, each team was 13-for-24 from the field. UK had one more three-pointer, the Shockers seven more free throws.

■ There were seven lead changes in the first half.

■ Size was supposed to be UK's big advantage. In the first half, Randle, Cauley-Stein and Johnson had two field goals and six shots.

Thumbs up

■ The Harrison twins: 12 of 22 shooting and 39 points.

■ Julius Randle's energy to open the second half ignited UK.

■ Kudos to both teams. This was a classic.

Thumbs down

■ Nothing: This one was as fun as it gets.

Herald-Leader Staff Report

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