Rapid Reaction: Kentucky survives near-collapse against Houston, advances to Elite Eight vs. Auburn
Once PJ Washington entered Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup on Friday night in Kansas City, Houston never stood a chance.
For a Cougar squad that already didn’t have much of a post presence, Kentucky was always going to be a bad matchup — with Washington or without. However, the star sophomore forward was electric, coming off the bench and doing everything the Wildcats needed.
Even without Washington, the Wildcats still had the advantage on the boards with guys like Nick Richards, E.J. Montgomery and Reid Travis manning the post, but Washington added a whole other layer to that dominance.
Things tightened up late in the second half, with Houston tying the game with just under four-and-a-half minutes remaining. The next possession, they actually took a 51-49 lead over the Wildcats. From there, it was a back-and-forth game — the epitome of March Madness.
Washington played a huge role down the stretch, with the Kentucky offense running through him on the block. Two Houston big men fouled out, and that was a huge advantage for Washington and the Wildcats.
On a decisive possession with under a minute left, Washington had a huge block on a Houston drive, leading to an incredibly clutch three-point shot from Tyler Herro to give the Wildcats a 60-58 lead:
PJ WASHINGTON BLOCKS. TYLER HERRO DROPS.
Kentucky up two. pic.twitter.com/7yYtNJr4zQ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 30, 2019
The Wildcats held on for the 62-58 victory, advancing to the Elite Eight. Herro led the way with 19 points. Washington finished with 16 points off the bench and the key block above.
Now, the Wildcats will take on a red-hot Auburn squad with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Sunday’s regional final in Kansas City should be one for the ages.