This time, Kentucky takes charge
Top-ranked Wildcats avenge earlier loss
ATLANTA - Anthony Davis had a rather quiet night. No worries. He’s got plenty of help at Kentucky.
The top-seeded Wildcats took care of the team that handed them one of their two losses and are off to another regional final, putting all their weapons on display in a 102-90 victory over gritty Indiana Friday night.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and four other players were in double figures for Kentucky (35-2), which made up for the 73-72 loss back in December.
Davis, the Wildcats’ freshman star, wasn’t a huge factor after picking up two early fouls, finishing with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Kidd-Gilchrist took the starring role with a double-double, also grabbing 10 rebounds. Doron Lamb had 21 points, Darius Miller 19, Marquis Teague 14, and Terrence Jones 12.
Christian Watford had 27 points to lead the Hoosiers (27-9), whose comeback season ended two wins shy of the Final Four. Indiana, which won a total of 28 games the previous three seasons, has regained its usual place among the college basketball bluebloods under coach Tom Crean.
But Big Blue is moving on to its third straight regional final.
Kentucky will face Baylor Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.
Indiana’s freshman star, Cody Zeller, had 20 points, while Victor Oladipo chipped in with 15 before fouling out. Kidd-Gilchrist just kept pounding the ball inside, drawing foul after foul on the Hoosiers, then knocking down the free throws. He went 10 for 10 at the line.
Jones, who had only 4 points in the December meeting, signaled this would be a different night by scoring Kentucky’s first 5 points in the rematch. That set the tone for a shootout, both teams running and gunning in an exhilarating display that kept fans in both blue and red on their feet most of the time at the Georgia Dome.
There wasn’t much to fear on the inside in the opening half, not with the two big men, Davis and Zeller, both spending much of the period on the bench, each saddled with two fouls.
Davis sat for the final 14:05 of the half, the Wildcats not wanting to take any chance on their best player picking up another foul. The 6-foot-10-inch freshman had two early blocks, but Indiana altered its offensive philosophy when he went to the bench. The Hoosiers started pounding the ball inside without fear of having it swatted away - especially Watford.
The hero of the first game between the two had 17 points by halftime, including a short jumper with 3 1/2 minutes left that capped a 21-10 stretch for the Hoosiers. Coach John Calipari quickly called a timeout with team trailing, 43-39, and Teague slammed the ball in frustration.
That was just a minor blip.
Miller hit a jumper, Indiana’s Tom Prichard botched a left-handed dunk, and the Wildcats raced the other way, tying it up on Jones’s tip-in. They led, 50-47, at the half and never surrendered the lead, wrapping it up with a dead-eye 35-of-37 showing at the free throw line.