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Kentucky-UConn

End of game: UConn wins it, 56-55. Shabazz Napier, whose turnover game Kentucky one last chance to tie, hit two  free throws with two seconds left for the four-point lead. Brandon Knight made a meaningless three at the buzzer. UConn faces Butler for the national title Monday night, with coach Jim Calhoun going for a third NCAA championship. John Calipari leaves as one of two coaches to take three different programs to the Final  Four (Rick Pitino is the other). He still hasn't won one, and might wear the tag of best coach never to win the national championship. 

1.7 seconds to go in the second half: Knight dribbled off about 10 seconds, then kicked to DeAndre Liggins for a long three that missed off the iron. UConn's Napier grabbed the rebound and Kentucky quickly fouled. The officials are reviewing the tape to make certain about the remaining time.

16.6 seconds to go in the second half: Does anyone want this game? UConn leads, 54-52, but Kentucky has the ball after Shabazz Napier lost the ball on the dribble with 20 seconds left and the Wildcats covered the loose ball and got timeout from the officials. Who gets the shot here? Brandon Knight has made two game-winners for Kentucky in the tournament, but he's been awful tonight.  

56.5 to go in the second half: UConn leads, 54-51. Kemba Walker left his feet on a drive and threw the ball away with the Huskies up six. DeAndre Liggins hit a three-pointer in transition to cut it to three. Kentucky rebounded a miss, came down and -- shocker -- Brandon Knight barely got iron with a three-point attempt. Knight's performance might be the worst I've seen in a Final Four game. He is 5-for-22 from the field. But he won't stop shooting.  Knight does have eight rebounds and five assists, but  his shot selection has been a horror.

2:49 left in the second half: No scoring since the last timeout.  Bricks were heaved. Why bother with the specifics. Did someone say this was going to be the "real final?" I've got news for you: If anything, the VCU-Butler game was the real final. I'm convinced now that if they had played on opposite sides of this Final Four, it would be an all non-BCS final on Monday night.

4:07 left in the second half: I can't express how unimpressed I am with Kentucky. This is one of the worst performances I can remember in a Final Four. UConn isn't all the much better. They're up 52-48. Brandon Knight is 5-for-20 from the floor, and it's been as bad as it sounds.

8:30 left in the second half: More abysmal play by Kentucky. They're down, 46-42, and have missed their last four shots. Alex Oriakhi slammed home an offensive rebound and Jeremy Lamb scored to put UConn up four and prompt a timeout by John Calipari. One of Cal's assistants was reaming out freshman forward Terrence Jones when he got to the bench for the timeout.

11:56 left in the second half: UConn is on top, 40-39, after a pretty ragged stretch by both teams. Kentucky went on a  16-4 run to begin the half and take a 37-35 lead. Kemba Walker hit three free throws after being knocked to the floor shooting a three-pointer. Brandon Knight made two foul shots to put Kentucky back in the lead. Then the Wildcats had a string of brutal possessions. Knight, who is erratic as a freshman can be, lost the ball out of bounds. He shot an airball. Then Doron Lamb threw the ball away. Jeremy Lamb's two free throws put UConn back in the lead.

15:53 left in the second half. UConn leads, 33-29. Josh Harrellson scored on a putback to get Kentucky within a basket, 31-29. Then Roscoe Smith hit a 15-foot jumper from the right baseline, giving the Huskies their first points more than three minutes into the half. Terrence Jones just picked up his third steal of the night for Kentucky. Jones has nine points and rebounds.

18:22 left in the second half: Kentucky hit a couple of three-pointers to start the half and pulled within four points, 31-27. Brandon Knight, who made only 1-for-5 threes in the opening half, hit one. Then Darius Miller, who missed all four of his shots in the opening 20 minutes, made one a few seconds later. Miller, by the way, was a boyhood pal and AAU teammate of Butler's Shelvin Mack. They grew up in Lexington, Ky.  The Wildcats recruited Miller early and weren't in on Mack until it was too late.

HOUSTON -- OK, so I'm 20 minutes away from missing on both my national semifinal predictions. UConn is leading Kentucky at halftime, 31-21. The way the Wildcats are shooting the basketball, they're fortunate to be within 10.

Kentucky shot 28.1 percent in the first half (9-for-32). They made only 2 of 12 three-pointers. They had just four assists and turned it over six times. Kemba Walker, UConn's all-American guard, had nine points and six assists for the Huskies, who shot 51.9 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

 

 

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