The Kentucky Wildcats will advance to the Sweet 16 in Atlanta following their 95-75 defeat of the Buffalo Bulls.
The Bulls, who defeated the fourth seeded Arizona Wildcats to advance to the Round of 32, finish the season 27-9. The Wildcats will play the winner of sixteen seed University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers and ninth seed Kansas State Wildcats. The two will play tomorrow night at 7:45 EDT on TruTV.
Kentucky’s defense held Buffalo to a poor shooting performance (38%) but early foul trouble kept the Wildcats from establishing a comfortable lead. Later, though, the Wildcats were able to pull away and blow out the Bulls behind their sensational point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a breakout game from Hamidou Diallo.
Gilgeous-Alexander was the game’s MVP, dropping a game-high 27 points on 10-12 shooting with six rebounds and as many assists. Diallo had his most impactful game as a Wildcat, netting 22 points on 9-12 shooting with eight rebounds.
Wenyen Gabriel continued his hot shooting behind the arc and hustle inside with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. PJ Washington also sparked energy inside with 12 points and eight rebounds. Kevin Knox, who was limited with early foul trouble, finished the game with eight points on just 4-10 shooting.
It was quite a game by the Bulls, as they did all they could to keep the game within 5-8 points. However, in the final 5-6 minutes, the Wildcats exploded for a 21-6 run to put the game away. Though it was close for most of the game, Kentucky trailed for a total of just 15 seconds.
Today was the most impressive outing by Diallo this season and yet another impressive game from Gilgeous-Alexander. Diallo’s defense and hustle has been apparent since the start of the SEC Tournament. His offensive production, though, was a certain surprise and a substantial difference in today’s outcome. Gabriel’s emergence off the bench during the last two weeks has also been key for the Cats.
Kentucky will travel back East where they’ll play much closer to home in Atlanta, Georgia. Their matchup with the winner of UMBC and Kansas State is set for March 22nd. Unlike the hostile crowd in Boise, expect a lot more UK blue in “Catlanta.”
Here is the final box score:
And enjoy some highlights:
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