Skip to content

Wichita State suffers first loss to Kentucky in the game of the year (VIDEO)

Mar 23, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

ST. LOUIS — For the entire season, Kentucky dealt with adversity as the Wildcats faced the pressures of being the preseason No. 1 team in the country with seven McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster. John Calipari’s team finished a disappointing 24-10 in the regular season, but with Sunday’s game against unbeaten No. 1 seed Wichita State, Kentucky had a chance to quiet its critics and get another shot at rival and defending champion Louisville.

The Wildcats (26-10) responded by playing their best game of the season as they ended the Shockers’ perfect season with a 78-76 win to advance to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest Regional.

Wichita State finishes the season 35-1, their last loss coming in the Final Four to Louisville last season.

RELATED: Just how good can this Kentucky team be?

In a game that was rife with story lines and intrigue, in what was arguably the most eagerly anticipated game of the college basketball season, the Shockers and the Wildcats delivered.

This was the game of the year.

In the midst of a back-and-forth second half, Wichita State senior forward Cleanthony Early knocked in back-to-back three-point attempts from the right wing to give the Shockers a 69-64 lead with 4:36 remaining. Kentucky responded by pounding the ball inside using the drive — or hitting the offensive glass — on its next few possessions to draw fouls and make free throws and freshman wing James Young’s runner gave the Wildcats a 70-69 lead with 2:50 remaining.

Early (31 points, six rebounds) responded with a bucket of his own to give the Shockers the lead again at 71-70, but Young (13 points, eight rebounds) answered the Early bucket with a contested three-pointer from the right wing to give Kentucky a 73-71 lead with 1:41 remaining.

After a Tekele Cotton (five points, five assists) missed three-pointer for the Shockers, Young corralled the defensive rebound and Kentucky freshman point guard Andrew Harrison (20 points) was fouled attacking the basket and made both free throws to give Kentucky a 75-71 lead. The Shockers responded on the other end with sophomore guard Ron Baker’s unlikely banked made three-pointer to cut Kentucky’s lead to 75-74 with 29 seconds remaining.

After dominating the early part of the second half with a tremendous all-around performance, Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle (13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) was fouled with 22 seconds left and made both free throws to give the Wildcats a 77-74 lead.

Baker (20 points, five rebounds) missed the tying three-point attempt on the other end but Early was fouled on the offensive rebound and made two free throws to make the game 77-76, Kentucky.

MOREKansas loses to No. 10 Stanford | Bill Self’s fifth tourney loss to No. 9 seed or lower

Andrew Harrison was fouled by Baker with 7.2 seconds remaining and split a pair at the line and Wichita State grabbed the defensive rebound as sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet (four points, four rebounds, six assists) raced across the timeline and called timeout to set up a final play with three seconds remaining.

VanVleet missed a potential game-winning three-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to give Kentucky the 78-76 victory.

Kentucky freshman shooting guard Aaron Harrison added 19 points in the win as the Wildcats shot 54 percent from the field (27-for-50) and 44 percent from three-point range (8-for-18).

Wichita State responded with 56 percent shooting from the field (27-for-48) and 47 percent from the three-point line (10-for-21) but fell one basket short on the game’s final possession

The game lived up to its incredible hype as it might be regarded as one of the best Round of 32 games that we’ll ever witness. Kentucky finally played up to its season-long potential while Wichita State played a tremendous game despite falling just short of maintaining their perfect record.

  1. barkleyblows - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Overrated!!! Overrated!!!!

    This is what happens when you play average or above average teams. Not women’s basketball teams like Wichita state played all year.

    • shockertalk - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      You are simply disgusting. You disrespect the complimentary comments that Calipari had for the Shockers. You are what is wrong with college basketball. I would ask you to go take up fishing, but that sport doesn’t deserve to have a dysfunctional spirit like yours trash up their good name.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:44 AM

        I hear there is some good fishing in shockertalk’s river of tears

  2. mudhead123 - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    The shockers played their first decent team and lose. Shocker!

  3. babyfarkmcgeezax - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Wichifraud State

    The only solace for the Shockers is knowing this game will eventually be erased from the record books when Calipari is inevitably charged for recruiting violations and all Kentucky wins during his tenure are vacated.

    • mailamandabailey - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Can we say jealous? Ha… Coach Cal doesn’t need to cheat. Kentucky is an elite program.

  4. joerevs300 - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    OMG here we go…

    “The game lived up to its incredible hype as it might be regarded as one of the best Round of 32 games that we’ll ever witness”.

    Can we PLEASE stop with the hyperbole???

    Wichita State beat 2 teams in the tournament field, Tennessee (which barely eked in but arguably played pretty good the first 2 games) and BYU (which didn’t belong in the field in the first place, as they showed by getting trucked in the round of 32).

    Wichita State got tested exactly 1 time in their entire season, being down 18 at home, forcing OT and winning. That’s it. Otherwise, their cupcake NCS and their horrible conference did little to prepare them for the tournament.

    I’m absolutely thrilled that Kentucky won. Maybe next year Gregg Marshall and his AD will stop whining about getting a home and home series against elite teams and simply test their roster. After all, if they ARE the best team in their conference, they’ll win it, win the conference tournament, maybe get a 2-3 seed, and make their run.

    But let’s get away from this nonsense. It’s a failed season and that’s what you get when you play no one and your AD thinks you are on the plain of the elite franchises in CBB when in reality you’re not.

    One Final Four and one Round of 32 appearance does not an elite program make.

  5. jaydm84 - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Great game. I can’t believe Early didn’t get the ball for the last shot.

  6. redbearwoodall - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I see no mention of all the charges Kentucky got away with… Go back to the point where Randle got “fouled” when it was 69-67. The Wichita defender’s feet were set and hands were down. Small schools are never going to win a title if the NCAA won’t give them a chance.

  7. spunhead73 - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Go Dayton Flyers!!!!!!

  8. barkleyblows - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Cry cry cry

  9. musketmaniac - Mar 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Hyped one vs eight, can never be hyped. Though Kentucky was better than an 8 seed, lol the selection committee got a little gangsta there. That said, Shox had a great season and it was a gd game. Kentucky-Louisville now that games got hype. Though little else. Louisville wins by 20.

    • mailamandabailey - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Yeah right! Kentucky beat Louisville earlier when they weren’t even playing well… how could you think that? It might be close but by 20? C’mon now…

  10. kev86 - Mar 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Tough loss. Could have went either way. Go Dayton!!

  11. urmomsfriend - Mar 23, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Wichita state played well but now they have to go home crying. Awwww. Go to a real conference weaklings.

  12. packerbadger - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Refs had A LOT to do with the outcome of this game. Funny how the NCAA says this will be the biggest draw of the tournament…..which means the most $$$$$.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!