Kentucky falters, loses to Indiana 73-67
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) This March, Kentucky's fabulous freshmen couldn't get it done when it mattered most.
Freshman Thomas Bryant scored 15 of his 19 points in the final eight minutes, Yogi Ferrell had 18 and fifth-seeded Indiana beat Kentucky 73-67 Saturday to earn a spot in the regional semifinals in Philadelphia.
The Hoosiers (27-7) are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013 despite losing starting guard Robert Johnson to an apparent left ankle injury late in the first half.
Indiana took control with a 17-4 run to go up 10 with four minutes left. Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress pulled Kentucky within 69-67 on free throws, but Bryant hit two from the line with 10 seconds to go to seal the win.
Ulis scored 27 points for Kentucky (27-9), which suffered its earliest NCAA Tournament exit since 2008 - when it lost to a Marquette team then led by current Indiana coach Tom Crean.
Freshman Jamal Murray added 16 for the Wildcats, but he was just 1 of 9 on 3s. Fellow freshman Skal Labissiere was 2 of 6 shooting with five boards, and Isaiah Briscoe had seven points with three turnovers.
''We didn't play our best, but maybe it's because of them that we didn't play our best. We missed a ton of open shots we normally don't miss,'' Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
Indiana went on a 9-2 run with Ferrell on the bench after he picked up his third foul. Ferrell quickly went back in, and the Hoosiers pushed their lead to 62-52 on a Bryant dunk.
An O.G. Anunoby block and another Bryant dunk proved huge for the Hoosiers - especially after Troy Williams fouled Ulis from 3-point range to give Kentucky life.
''These kids aren't machines. They're no computers. Stuff happens and you try to figure it out,'' Calipari said. ''What I don't want to do is take away from what Indiana did. Indiana -- they played every kid on that court, gave everything they had and they deserved to win this game.''
It had been four years since these once-longtime rivals had faced each other; a Sweet 16 game that Kentucky won 102-90 on its way to a national title.
This one had the feel of an Elite Eight-type matchup from the opening basket.
Still, Kentcuky somehow let Indiana go into halftime with a 33-32 lead.
Johnson went to the locker room with five minutes left after hitting a pair of early 3s, and Ferrell took 12 minutes to knock down a bucket.
Kentucky looked set to run away with it too, especially after Murray followed a Ulis 3 from the ''March Madness'' logo with a dunk. But the Wildcats went nearly five minutes without a basket to close the first, allowing the Hoosiers to inch out in front.
Indiana pushed it to six before Murray and Ulis 3s pulled Kentucky even at 38-all. But that would prove to be Murray's last made 3, and an Anunoby 3 with 6:53 left put the Hoosiers back on top, 56-50.
''We broke down on those plays and those are plays that we're usually able to come back to,'' Kentucky's Marcus Lee said. ''We weren't able to get back from them.
Kentucky: The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers with just eight assists... Kentucky went just 4 of 16 on 3s... Ulis and Murray were the only Wildcats in double figures.
Indiana: Ferrell became Indiana's leader in games played with 136... Reserve freshman forward Juwan Morgan injured his left shoulder early in the second half. After a trip to the locker room, Morgan returned in a sling.
Ulis did everything he could to will Kentucky to victory. He was 10 of 20 shooting, hitting three 3s and calmly knocking down all of his free throws after the Williams foul. Murray, on the other hand, was just 7 of 18 shooting - and only four other Wildcats hit baskets.
''The big picture of this is we're all right. Now I'm going to have a brand new team again next year, surprise!'' Calipari said.
Indiana will play either North Carolina or Providence Friday in Philadelphia.
Kentucky's season is finished.
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