New Orleans – Kentucky defeated Kansas 67-59 Monday night in the Division One NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. This is Kentucky’s first national championship since 1998 and the Wildcats first title under head coach John Calipari. Kentucky was the number one overall seed in this years NCAA tournament bracket and was the overall favorite to win the title.
Doron Lamb was the high scorer for Kentucky with a 22-point performance. Anthony Davis had a complete line of 6 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 blocks for the Wildcats. Tyshawn Taylor led Kansas scoring with 19 points with Thomas Robinson scoring 18 points to go along with 17 rebounds.
Kentucky led 41-27 at the break after an upbeat and quick paced first half. The Wildcats got out early and didn’t look back hitting big three’s and running the floor in transition. Kansas came out charged to start the second half only to watch Kentucky pull away again and hold their double-digit lead until 3:52 left in the game. With 1:37 left in the game Kansas cut the Wildcat lead to five (62-57). Kentucky went on to hit critical free throws in the final seconds to secure the title.
Kentucky was led this season by 6-10 freshman forward Anthony Davis, the recipient of the Naismith Trophy given to the player of the year in men’s college basketball. Davis averaged 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season leading Kentucky to the regular season SEC championship and a 32-2 record entering the tournament.
This years NCAA tournament was a year of high seeds with no real Cinderella team emerging. The Final Four matchups included Kansas a number two seed versus another number two seed Ohio State. Kansas defeated the Buckeyes 64-62 on Saturday. Kentucky then defeated number four seed Louisville in the other national semi final game.