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Wisconsin shatters Kentucky's hope of perfect season

Posted: April 4, 2015 8:51 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2015 8:51 p.m.
Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes celebrates at the end of an NCAA Final Four game against Kentucky Saturday in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Michael Conroy Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes celebrates at the end of an NCAA Final Four game against Kentucky Saturday in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Michael Conroy
Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes celebrates at the end of an NCAA Final Four game against Kentucky Saturday in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nobody ever said they were perfect. Now, the Kentucky Wildcats aren't undefeated, either.

The hard-nosed Wisconsin Badgers did what nobody else could Saturday night — knocking off the Wildcats 71-64 behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from Frank Kaminsky and a clutch comeback down the stretch.

Now, it's Wisconsin heading to the final to play Duke, an 81-61 winner over Michigan State in the earlier — and much less entertaining — semifinal.

"It gives us another 40 minutes, I know that," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who leads the Badgers to their first final since 1941.

And Kentucky has a long ride home, finishing the season at 38-1 — two wins short of becoming the first undefeated team in college basketball since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. Instead, these NBA-ready group of Wildcats join the star-studded 1991 UNLV team as the latest to take an undefeated record into the Final Four but lose in the semifinals.

So much has been made of Kentucky's unflappability when things don't look so good — like when the Wildcats got outplayed against Notre Dame last week but somehow pulled out a two-point win to make it to Indy.

This time, though, it was Wisconsin that came up clutch.

Trailing by four and gasping for breath after going 6 minutes without a bucket, the Badgers (36-3) responded with an 8-0 run to take a lead Kentucky couldn't overcome.

Kaminsky and Bronson Koenig went 7 for 8 from the line over the last 24 seconds to seal the win.

Kentucky's last, best chance came while trailing by three with 12 seconds left. But Karl-Anthony Towns received the ball in the post and got fouled. He made only one free throw, and from there, Wisconsin iced it from the line.


Duke 81, Michigan St. 61

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two star freshmen, a solid senior and some of the trademark defense Duke has long been known for have the Blue Devils back in the national championship game.

And in Indianapolis, no less.

Justise Winslow scored 19 points, fellow freshman Jahlil Okafor added 18 and senior Quinn Cook had 17 to lead top-seeded Duke to an 81-61 victory over Michigan State on Saturday and into yet another title game in the city known for a 500-mile auto race.

The Blue Devils won it all in Indianapolis in 1991, their first under Mike Krzyzewski. The winningest men's Division I coach, who has a 9-3 record in national semifinal games, led them to their fourth and most recent title in 2010, also in Indianapolis.

"The city's great, and even if we didn't win tonight the city would still be great and the venue would be great," Krzyzewski said. "This team, though, deserved to be in it. So it makes it even better. They've been so good in this tournament and the stage has not been too big for them."

The start against Michigan State didn't look too promising for a trip to Monday night's title game against Wisconsin, which beat top-ranked Kentucky 71-64, the Wildcats' first loss of the season.

The Spartans were ahead 14-6 just 4 minutes into the game, making five of their first seven shots and the first four they took from beyond the 3-point line.

Things changed and in a hurry.

"After the first four minutes, we were a different team. We played great basketball tonight, especially on the defensive end," Krzyzewski said.

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