The Herald Bulletin

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Sports

March 30, 2014

Kentucky punches ticket with late 3

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky was the final team to punch its ticket for the Final Four, but none made it with any more gusto.

All game long the Wildcats had been able to score by penetration, off offensive rebounds and with 3-pointers.

So when Michigan had to defend the final 27 seconds with the score tied 72-72, the Wolverines decided what they wanted to take away. What remained was the 3-pointer.

Aaron Harrison, a freshman from Texas, hit a step-back trey with 2.6 seconds left and pit propelled the Wildcats into next weekend's Final Four in his home state.

"Most of the game was about dribble drive and playing above the rim (by Kentucky)," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "We decided we wanted them to beat us from over the top. He hit a tough shot."

Harrison described the final moments by saying, "I fumbled the handoff. I didn't know how much time was left, but I knew there wasn't much. I just got the best shot I could and it went in."

"The thing about that shot," said Kentucky coach John Calipari, "is that you can't be afraid to miss. He's not afraid to miss." Harrison hit two-thirds of his six 3-pointers to account for all 12 of his points.

To get the game deadlocked, Michigan staged one of the most furious assaults at the basket seen in recent memory.

It started with 42 seconds left when Nik Stauskas missed a shot in tight in the lane. Chris Lavert got the offensive rebound and five seconds later it ended up in Stauskas hands for a corner 3-point try. He missed and Lavert got the offensive board again. This time Derrick Walton Jr. launched a 3, but it fell off the rim on the right side. Jordan Morgan battled for the ball and it was tipped in to tie the contest. That entire process took 15 seconds.

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