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College basketball: Michigan holds on late to beat Tennessee 73-71

Published March 28, 2014 8:14 pm

Midwest Region • Wildcats rally pastin-state rivals.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Indianapolis • OK, so maybe they're not the quickest learners. Still, the kids at Kentucky figured out Louisville just in time.

Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-ahead score with 39 seconds left and Julius Randle made a pair of clutch free throws to lift the fantastic freshman of Kentucky to a 74-69 victory over their in-state rivals.

The eighth-seeded Wildcats (27-10) led for a grand total of 65 seconds in this Midwest Regional semifinal. They'll play Michigan on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.

Few expected a run this deep as this season played out and Kentucky's five freshmen starters struggled to play a team game. But they've been learning slowly. Trailing by seven with 4½ minutes left, things kicked in again.

Actually, it was a sophomore, Alex Poythress, who scored five points in a 7-0 run that tied the game at 66 inside of 2 minutes. Then, it was the Kentucky freshmen who showed all the poise against the defending national champs, led by seniors Russ Smith (23 points) and Luke Hancock (19).

Harrison took a pass from Julius Randle and spotted up in the corner for the go-ahead shot. Both finished with 15 points, as did yet another freshman starter, Dakari Johnson.

On the next possession, Louisville's Wayne Blackshear got fouled. The 71 percent career free throw shooter missed the first. Randle came down and made two free throws. Smith missed a tough look at a 3-pointer on the next possession and a few seconds later, the Wildcats were celebrating.

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71 • Jordan Morgan scored 15 points and Nik Stauskas had 14 including a key free throw to help Michigan hold on for a victory over Tennessee.

The Wolverines (28-8) led by 15 with 10:55 to go, but committed four turnovers in the final 97 seconds. Tennessee (24-13) cut the lead to 72-71 and had a chance to take the lead, but Jarnell Stokes was called for an offensive foul with 6 seconds left.