Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 4/2/12
Calipari
John Calipari finally has his NCAA championship. His Kentucky Wildcats captured the program's eighth national title with an 67-59 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Monday night in New Orleans. The eight NCAA basketball championships only rank second to UCLA (11). Doron Lamb led the Kentucky scoring attack with a game-high 22 points, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, while Marquis Teague added 14 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrest added 11. But despite scoring just six points -- all in the second half and on just one made field goal -- the spark behind Kentucky's victory was the defensive play of National Player of the Year Anthony Davis. The freshman pulled down 16 rebounds and had six blocks. Calipari's only other trip to the title game was with Memphis in 2008. Ironically, his Tigers lost to a Bill Self-coached Kansas team in overtime. Kentucky led Kansas 41-24 at the half, but Kansas trimmed the lead to 48-38 with 11:50 to go. That's when Lamb sank back-to-back 3-pointers to make things looks safe ... for a while. When Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor converted a three-point play with 4:17 remaining, Kentucky's lead was trimmed to 59-50. Thomas Robinson made it a seven-point deficit with two free throws at the 3:50 mark. Teague hit a 3-pointer for Kentucky, but Elijah Johnson responded with a 3-pointer of his own for Kansas. Kansas cut the lead to 62-57 on two free throws by Robinson at the 1:37 mark. But Davis made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a two-possession game with 1:11 remaining. Kidd-Gilchrist came up with a big block on Kansas' next possession and Kansas turned the ball over, forcing the Jayhawks to foul with 53.9 seconds left. Teague hit both free throws to up the lead to 65-57. The game opened at a torrid pace with both teams running up and down the floor before the first TV timeout at the 14:18 mark and Kentucky holding 13-9 lead. The Wildcats increased the advantage to 17-9 on a Terrence Jones dunk and two Doron Lamb free throws. When Lamb hit a 3-pointer with 6:31 to go in the first half, Kentucky led 34-19. The lead was 41-27 at the half, which was bad news for the Jayhawks as the Wildcats had won their last 40 in a row when leading at the break. Kentucky shot 53.3% (16 of 30) to Kansas' 33.3% (11 of 33) in the opening half. Another key factor for the Wildcats was a 22-14 rebound advantage, led by Anthony Davis' nine. Davis didn't have any points in the first 20 minutes, but the National Player of the Year did have three of Kentucky's five first-half blocks. Lamb was the top scorer at the break with 12 points, while Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in 11. This was a rematch of the teams' second game of the season, which Kentucky won 75-65 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15.
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