Kentucky’s poor 3-point shooting and a late start doomed the Wildcats as they fell to upstart second-seed West Virginia, 73-66, in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night.
The Mountaineers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders from 3-point range, shooting over 50 percent for the game from beyond the arc. However, they did not hit a 2-point field goal in the first half. West Virginia held a 28-26 lead at the half without hitting a 2-pointer. Kentucky played the opposite in the first half as they shot 10-20 on 2-point shots and 0-8 from 3-point range.
West Virginia came into the second half rolling as they started on an 8-0 run and they jumped on Kentucky to take a 36-26 lead with 17:43 remaining in the game. Kentucky called a timeout, but it didn’t help much as West Virginia was up as many as 16 as they led 61-45 with 4:20 remaining in the game. Kentucky made a run to cut into the lead, but they didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until 3:29 remaining in the game. West Virginia (31-6) held off the run and hung on to win over Kentucky (35-3) and advanced to the Final Four.
The story of the game was plain and simple, West Virginia’s ability to hit their 3-pointers, and Kentucky’s inability to hit theirs. West Virginia shot 10-23 from beyond the arc, while Kentucky shot just 4-32. Joe Mazzulla came up big for West Virginia as he replaced the injured Darryl Bryant with 17 points and three assists. DaSean Butler came up big as well, with 18 points and six rebounds.
John Wall came up big for Kentucky, as he had 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals, however it was not enough. He didn’t have much help from his teammates, as Kentucky shot just 23-67, or 34.3 percent from the floor.
Kentucky was well represented in the Dome as they had the majority of fans, compared to the last game against Cornell when there was a sea of red. The crowd was relatively even in number of fans. The attendance for this game was 22,497. West Virginia will face Duke in the National Semifinal on Saturday, April 3 at approximately 9 p.m.