WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Cats fall short of Final Four, close out season with loss to WVU

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Say goodbye to John Calipari's fabulous
Kentucky freshmen - and probably junior Patrick Patterson, too.
Their season is over, and the next stop for Patterson, flashy
guard John Wall and imposing center DeMarcus Cousins could be the
NBA after the Wildcats' season ended with a thud. Kentucky's
high-tempo offense was stymied by an intimidating West Virginia
defense in a 73-66 loss in the East Regional final on Saturday.
Wall and Cousins finished the game on the bench. Wall fouled out
with 51 seconds left, and Cousins was on the sideline for the final
three minutes because the top-seeded Wildcats needed outside
shooters.
The freshmen already have indicated it's their intention to
enter the NBA after only one college season, barring a significant
change of heart.
Wall already is being pegged as a potential No. 1 pick, and the
6-foot-11 Cousins is projected to go in the first round.
And Patterson, a 6-9 forward who considered entering the draft
last year, also is likely to go after he spoke at length Friday
about approaching every game like it's his last in college.
Wall, the national freshman of the year, finished with 19
points. Cousins had 15 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
It was a stunning end for a team that accomplished so much while
putting Big Blue back on the basketball map in Calipari's first
year since taking over following Billy Gillispie's dismissal.
The Wildcats (35-2) finished one win short of matching the
school record set by the Adolph Rupp-coached team that went 36-3 in
1947-48. And they enjoyed their deepest run in the tournament since
2005, when they lost to Michigan State 94-88 in overtime in a
regional final.
Kentucky fans standing behind the Wildcats' bench were anxious
and frustrated, standing with their arms crossed with their team
trailing 51-42 in the second half. Not even actress and alum Ashley
Judd's presence could provide a spark as she regularly shook a blue
and white pompom and cheered.
The bench didn't look much happier for most of the second half
as players sat with their hands on their chins.
That included Cousins, who barely reacted when teammate Darnell
Dodson hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to cut the
Mountaineers' lead to 70-66.
Wall got off to a slow start and lost his composure after
teammate DeAndre Liggins was issued a technical foul for
complaining to an official late in the first half. Voicing his own
complaint, Wall then drew a warning from referee Curtis Shaw.
At the end of the half, Shaw was spotted at the Kentucky bench
warning a team official about Wall.
Things didn't get any better for the Wildcats at the start of
the second half.
In a three-possession stretch, freshman Eric Bledsoe missed two
free throws and a 3-point shot, Cousins missed a chance for a
putback and picked up his third foul by slapping Da'Sean Butler,
and Wall had a turnover.
In the meantime, the Mountaineers hit their first three shots,
including two 3-pointers, to build a 36-26 edge.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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