The Kentucky Wildcats fell to the Auburn Tigers 77-71 in the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon. Round 3 belongs to Auburn and now, they advance to the first Final Four in school history.
The Cats got off to another hot start, and the defense looked immaculate. This led UK to a 35-30 halftime lead.
Keldon Johnson was terrific. He’s struggled at times throughout March, especially scoring, but he did a lot today. He defended well and was great on the glass. On top of that, he scored in a variety of ways. He finished with a double-double.
Immanuel Quickley played good again, while Hagans struggled. Hagans has been bad and IQ has stepped up. He wasn’t perfect, but he provides so much with his length and composure.
Let’s just say it: why did Reid Travis not touch the ball every time down the floor? I mean, seriously. Bad coaching. There was no one on Auburn who could stop Reid and he didn’t touch the ball for minutes at a time. He had a hard time gathering rebounds for some reason, but he was a man on the block.
Tyler Herro disappeared. He was tasked with guarding Bryce Brown and he did a great job in the first half. But they used foul trouble against him and he was basically nonexistent.
Besides Quickley, Kentucky also got absolutely nothing from the bench. It was a mess all around. The defense has been a strong suit all year and Kentucky has so many weapons on offense, but for some reason it just disappears at times.
It was a fun season. It sucks to see it end. And it sucks even more to see so many players play their last game in blue and white. Salute to these guys for a great season and a great run, despite so much adversity. On to next year.
PJ Washington. That’s all that needs to be said. Suffering through the foot injury for the second game in three days, PJ once again was a force.
There wasn’t much more we could have asked from the sophomore star. He dominated the inside and fought hard all game long.
He hit sky hook after sky hook and continued to put Kentucky in a position to win the game.
PJ certainly gained redemption for his free throw performance in the Sweet Sixteen last season. He’s become a UK legend. But free throws were the Achilles heel once again and not just for PJ. The whole team struggled from the line and PJ’s fee throws were hard to watch.
Regardless, he left his heart out on the floor. His last game for the Cats was more than we could have hoped for.
PJ finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 10-18 from the field and 6-10 from the line.
Thank you, PJ, for leaving it all out on the floor and seeking redemption for last year’s heartbreaker. Good luck to all the players who will declare for the NBA Draft and see ya next year, college basketball.