Kentucky freshmen too much for Kansas as Wildcats prevail in NCAA final
The young Wildcats, led by Anthony Davis, raced out to a big first half lead, then held off the Jayhawks to win the school's eighth NCAA championship.
Before his confetti-flecked suit gets back from the cleaners, John Calipari will be on the road.Skip to next paragraph
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Such is life for a coach who recruits all that NBA-ready talent — especially when those players get in the habit of bringing championships back to their ol' Kentucky home.
Cal's latest group of one-and-doners doesn't have much left to prove at this level. Despite a rough shooting night by the best of Kentucky's talented freshmen, Anthony Davis, the Wildcats defeated Kansas 67-59 on Monday night to win their eighth national title, and first since 1998.
"What I'm hoping is there are six first-rounders on this team," Calipari said. "I'm fine with that. That's why I've got to go recruiting on Friday."
Among those he could be looking to replace:
—Doron Lamb, a sophomore with first-round-draft-pick potential, who led the Wildcats with 22 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half that shut down one of Kansas' many rallies.
—Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a probable lottery pick, who scored all 11 of his points in the first half, while the Wildcats (38-2) were building an 18-point lead.
—And then there's Davis, who might have had the most dominating six-point night in the history of college basketball, earning the nod as the most outstanding player. Midway through the first half, he was scoreless but still on pace for a triple-double. He finished with 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and three steals — and made his only field goal with 5:13 left in the game.
It was a surefire illustration of how the 6-foot-10 freshman can exert his will on a game even on a rare night when the shot isn't falling.
"I love the fact Anthony Davis goes 1 for 10, and you all say he was biggest factor of game," Calipari said. "He was 1 for 10. I asked these guys what they would do without scoring. You have an idea what he does."
Over the next few weeks, Davis will decide whether to return to college — unlikely — or head to the NBA, where he'll probably be the top pick. Kidd-Gilchrist could go second.
Kansas (32-7) also has a lottery pick in AP All-American Thomas Robinson. He was harassed all night by Davis and Jones and finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds on a 6-for-17 shooting night. He was huge in the second half, while the Jayhawks were making one of those desperate comebacks that have become their trademark this year. This time, KU trimmed Kentucky's lead to five with 1:37 left. But the Wildcats made five free throws down the stretch to seal the win.