NCAA Tournament

April 5, 2014

Aaron Harrison’s big shot sinks Wisconsin, Kentucky advances to national championship game

Aaron Harrison buried a three-pointer from the left wing with 5.7 seconds remaining to give Kentucky a 74-73 victory over Wisconsin in the second national semifinal Saturday night in Arlington, Texas. The Wildcats will meet Connecticut on Monday in the most oddly seeded national championship game in history.

Aaron Harrison got his brother’s back.

Aaron buried a three-point from the wing with 5.7 seconds remaining to send Kentucky into the national championship game with a 74-73 victory over Wisconsin.

In the process, he got twin brother Andrew off the hook for silly foul committed about 10 seconds earlier that allowed the Badgers to take a two-point lead.

But there has been no fear in Kentucky’s all-freshmen starting lineup. Need a big moment? Somebody is always there to step up, and over the past three games it’s been Aaron Harrison.

The game-winning dagger against Michigan, the go-ahead shot against Louisville, Aaron Harrison is building one of the greatest clutch shooting profiles in NCAA Tournament history.

“It’s ridiculous,” Andrew Harrison said. “I’m not sure any player in the world can do that.”

Saturday’s was the biggest.

“That shot’s going to stick in our minds for the rest of our lives,” Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky said.

Kentucky trailed by two after Traevon Jackson made two of three free throws with 16.4 seconds remaining after Andrew Harrison bit on the pump fake as Jackson flung the ball to the hoop.

The miss, which allowed Kentucky to win rather than tie the game, was the only one by the Badgers in 20 attempts.

“Thank goodness the kid just made two or it’s a different ballgame,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Aaron Harrison’s shot came on his only three-point attempt of the night.

“I’m pretty confident so far,” Aaron Harrison said. “I’ve been hitting some big shots down the stretch. I didn’t play that well today, but I hit a big shot.”

The game was tense throughout, and pivoted at several junctures, including a timeout.

Calipari called one with 19:01 remaining in the second half in response to Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker nailing a three-pointer to extend the Badgers’ lead to seven.

Calipari stopped it right there, and the next five minutes may have been Kentucky’s best basketball of the season.

The Wildcats scored 15 straight with dashes of flair, like Marcus Lee’s acrobatic stickback or Alex Poythress’ back to the basket tip in. James Young chipped in a four-point possession, and nothing went wrong for Kentucky.

A player who averages 7.9 minutes a game turned the tide for Wisconsin.

Duje Dukan, a junior forward, knocked down a pair of three-pointers and scored a total of eight points in a 13-4 run over the next few minutes that brought the game back to even.

Dukan had scored 15 in the season opener but hadn’t topped six in a game since then.

From that point, the game stayed close. Wisconsin played with the lead, but never much of one, and when Andrew Harrison floated a lob that Poythress banked home with 2:11 remaining, Kentucky had regained a 71-69 lead.

It went back and forth from there with the Harrisons figuring in both team’s scoring in the end. For Kentucky, the ball was in the right hands.

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