Aaron Harrison and the Kentucky Wildcats proved once again they've finally come of age, advancing to the Final Four with a thrilling 75-72 victory over Michigan on the freshman guard's tie- breaking 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Harrison's incredibly clutch basket gave the rookie-dominated Wildcats a surprise Midwest Region title as an eighth seed in which they knocked off a trio of 2013 Final Four participants to get there. Kentucky (28-10) earned a trip to the Elite Eight with wins over previoulsy unbeaten Wichita State and defending national champ Louisville, then punched its ticket to the national semis by outlasting the 2013 runner-up Wolverines in a down-to-the-wire nailbiter.
Harrison scored nine of his 12 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes, with three other members of Kentucky's heralded freshman class also coming up with key contributions. Julius Randle racked up 16 points and 11 rebounds, James Young had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Marcus Lee came through with 10 points and eight rebounds in an extended role.
Lee, who came in averaging just 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, helped offset the absence of starting center Willie Cauley-Stein, sidelined by a sprained ankle sustained in Friday's win over Louisville in the Sweet 16. Even with the 7-foot defensive specialist out of action, the Wildcats outrebounded the Wolverines by a 35-24 margin and produced 46 points in the paint.
Michigan's Nik Stauskas topped all scorers with 24 points, but his desperation 3-point try from halfcourt at the buzzer landed well off the mark as the Wolverines' (28-9) bid for a second straight Final Four berth came up just short.