UK BASKETBALL | Kentucky's Season Comes to an End

03/23/2018 01:07 AM

The Kentucky Wildcats’ 2017-2018 men’s basketball season came to an end early Friday morning.

The No. 5-seeded Wildcats (26-11) fell 61-58 to the No. 9-seeded Kansas St. Wildcats (25-11) in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.

The game was tied 58-58 with under a minute to play, but Kansas St.‘s Barry Brown hit a go-ahead layup with under 20 seconds to play. Later, KSU added to its lead with a free throw. Kentucky then had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but a three-point attempt by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was off the mark.

“I should have called that time-out late with 19 seconds to go, but we had worked on something, and I thought we could catch them off guard,” said UK head coach John Calipari. “Veteran team, should have called a time-out. Can’t put that on these guys. That’s right on my shoulders. Proud of our kids, though. Proud of their effort.”

Kentucky forward PJ Washington led the Wildcats with a team-high 18 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. Washington only went 8-of-20 (40%) from the free throw line.

“I didn’t play good at all,” said Washington. “As you saw, I went 8-for-20 from the line. I feel like if we would have made at least half of those, we would have won the game, so I didn’t play really good.”

UK guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ended the night with 15 points, despite shooting only 2-of-10 (20%) from the field.

Meanwhile, Kentucky forward Kevin Knox had 13 points and eight rebounds. He spoke after the game about what Cal’s message was to the team:

Kansas St. forward Xavier Sneed led the way for the other Wildcats, as he finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, both team-highs.

“Xavier rolls up and played his special – we needed somebody to be special,” said Kansas St. head coach Bruce Weber.

The “Battle of the Wildcats” featured 51 total fouls, 30 of which were committed by KSU, while 21 were committed by Kentucky.

“The officiating is what it is,” said Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel. “We’ve been through different games that have been called like that. It wasn’t expected, going into this game, but the outcome came to what it did.”

Many of the UK players also reflected on the 2017-2018 season in the locker room after the game:

Kansas St. will hope to get to this year’s Final Four, when it faces No. 11-seeded Loyola-Chicago (31-5) in the Elite Eight on Saturday evening.

Andrew Chernoff

Andrew is a sports anchor and sports managing editor for Spectrum News. He covers sports all across the state of Kentucky for Sports Night, which airs weeknights at 6:30 and 10:30 on Spectrum News. Andrew was a sports anchor and reporter at KFDM/KBTV in Beaumont, Texas for four years before making the move back home to the Midwest. He is originally from Carmel, Indiana and majored in broadcast journalism and political science at Syracuse University.

When he’s not on the air or in the field covering sports, you can likely find Andrew playing golf, watching IndyCar and Formula 1 races, or exploring the state of Kentucky. His favorite sport is open-wheel racing. In fact, he has not missed an Indianapolis 500 since the early 2000s.

Whether he is working sporting events or not, he always loves talking sports. He is a prolific tweeter, so if you want to stay “in the know” about sports in the Bluegrass, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADChernoff. If you have a story idea for our sports team, send it to Andrew at Andrew.Chernoff@charter.com.

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