Here’s a phrase you’ve probably heard before: The Kentucky Wildcats are advancing in the NCAA Tournament.
Although Kentucky earned a No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament, its second-round matchup against No. 10 Wichita State looked troubling. The Shockers, who were 30-4 in the regular season, appeared more talented than a typical 10 seed.
The second round matchup did not disappoint, as it was a back-and-forth affair from the opening tip. Kentucky’s defense proved to be the difference, however, and the Wildcats’ freshmen grew up on the big stage.
Trailing by one, Wichita State tried for a three-point attempt and a two-point lead. Malik Monk, the Wildcats’ freshman guard, responded quickly to the shot and knocked it away. He was then fouled and hit two crucial free throws to extend Kentucky’s lead to three.
Malik Monk with the game-saving block! pic.twitter.com/4MP2yjhQ8i
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 19, 2017
The Shockers had one final chance to win the game, but they were again stuffed on a three-point shot attempt. This time, it was freshman forward Bam Adebayo who came through with the crucial block.
Sorry, Wichita State.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 19, 2017
It was Adebayo’s first block of the game, but it’s one that has Kentucky dancing on to the Sweet 16. Monk and fellow freshman De’Aaron Fox led the Wildcats with 14 points, while Adebayo posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Kentucky will play either No. 3 UCLA or No. 6 Cincinnati next Friday in Memphis.