Kentucky rides defense, Julius Randle into the Round of 32

03/21/2014 11:37 PM

After an up and down season for many of UK’s freshmen, the newcomers shined brightest as the Cats beat Kansas State 56-49, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32.

UK entered the game expecting physical play from the undersized KSU team, but answered the bell each time the purple-clad Wildcats made a run. A big reason was the battle on the boards, which the Cats won 40-28.

Julius Randle was a force in the paint, snatching 15 boards to go along with his game-high 19 points. The double-double was Randle’s 21st on the year; a new Kentucky freshman record. His front court partner, Willie Cauley-Stein, wreaked Havoc on defense, blocking 4 shots and collecting 4 steals, in addition to 8 rebounds.

The Cats didn’t shoot great from the field, but they were led offensively by the Harrison twins. Aaron Harrison started hot and never cooled off, pouring in 18 points. Twin brother Andrew didn’t have the same scoring punch, but did add 7 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

UK will now play Sunday against the undefeated, one-seed Wichita State Shockers for a chance to go to the Sweet 16.

Kaci Kust

Kaci is a Production Specialist based out of the Northern Kentucky Spectrum News bureau. When she’s not working at the station she is covering high school sports, Bengals or EKU games for Sports Night, which airs weeknights at 6:30 and 10:30 on Spectrum News. She played basketball for Hope College in Michigan where she earned a degree in journalism. She says if she wasn’t covering athletics for a living, she’d still be up early checking scores and stats. You can get the latest on the Bengals, EKU or high school sports in Northern Kentucky by following Kaci on Twitter @Kacikust.

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