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The Badgers Tame the Wildcats
By Mike Tanchevski

“One and done” not only applies to the college playing careers of many Kentucky Wildcat basketball players it also applies to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats faced that scenario as they put their 38-0 record on the line against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Wisconsin then did what no one else was able to do all season, beat Kentucky. The Badgers topped the Wildcats 71-64 in a game that saw both teams go on scoring runs throughout the game. Kentucky’s loss came one year after their loss to Connecticut in the National Championship Game.

Wisconsin established the tempo for the entire game forcing Kentucky to play the game on the perimeter on both end of the floor; taking away the dribble drive from the Wildcats and running their deliberate offense.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead following an Andrew Harrison three point jump shot and Willie-Cauley Stein dunk. Wisconsin tied the game 5-5 on a pair of Nigel Hayes free throws and a Sam Decker three point basket.

Both teams exchanged baskets and the game remained tied 13-13 before Wisconsin then went on a 10-3 run to take a nine point advantage; one point shy of the largest deficit the Wildcats faced all season.

Kentucky went on their own run, outscoring the Badgers 18-9 to forge a 32-32 tie with two minutes on the clock; the game was tied 36-36 at the half.

The second half saw Wisconsin edge out to an eight point lead with 14:46 left in the game. Frank Kaminsky scored seven points in that stretch.

Kentucky looked as if they would pull out another victory as they went on a fourteen to four scoring spree to take a 60-56 lead with 4:45 on the clock. The Wildcats would only make one more basket and a pair of free throws as the Badgers took over.

Wisconsin, led by Decker’s six points, assured the victory with a 15-4 scoring outburst. Kentucky only had two rebounds in that stretch as they were two of seven from the field with a pair of turnovers.

Wisconsin was flying around all game outworking Kentucky on the glass, they outrebounded Kentucky on the offensive end, twelve to six and twenty-two to sixteen overall.Sam Dekker

The Badgers’ shot 47.9% from the field and made 7 of 17 from 3-point range. Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with twenty points and 10 rebounds, Decker added sixteen points while Hayes and Bronson Koenig each scored twelve points. Traevon Jackson provided quality minutes, scoring six points and pulling down two rebounds.

Kentucky scored twenty-eight points in the paint and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Karl-Anthony Towns led the wildcats with sixteen points and 9 rebounds. Stein was held to two points while contributing five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Wisconsin will face Duke in the National Championship Game on April 6th. Duke defeated Wisconsin 80-70 in Madison, Wisconsin earlier this season.

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