|#4||Kentucky (29-8) ||71|
|#11||VCU (28-11) ||66|
It’s hard to fathom anyone outside the commonwealth of Kentucky rooting for the boys in blue in this David versus Goliath matchup. Unfortunately, emotional attachment is not an engine influence, as the computers calculate the Wildcats cutting down the nets with a 71-66 conquest.
VCU gained the initial upper hand, employing its “havoc” defense to smother the ‘Cats, correlating to multiple turnovers and just 26 points in the first half. Mirroring their performance against Kansas, the Rams used a barrage of threes to take a six-point lead into halftime.
The hot hands of VCU quickly turned to ice in the second half, building a house of bricks from behind the arc. Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight went on the offensive, willing the Wildcats ahead of the Rams. A trey from Doron Lamb put Kentucky up 65-56 with two minutes to go, seemingly slaying VCU’s title hopes.
But Shaka Smart’s Rams had one last gasp up their sleeve, pressing Kentucky into forcing shots and cutting the lead to two. After Jon Hood hit just one of two free throws, VCU’s Ed Nixon was able to free himself for an open three to tie the game. But Nixon’s attempt clanked against the rim, giving the Wildcats their first championship since 1998.
Jones submitted a 19-point, 14-board performance to guide Kentucky, as Lamb added 18 points and Knight kicked in 13 of his own. Rodriguez paced the Rams with 14 points in the loss.
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