The miss effectively ended the Wildcats' chances to win the game and advance to the NCAA final. Kentucky pressed on the ensuing possession, but the Gamecocks broke the press easily and found Brandon Wallace under the basket with no one within three feet of him. Wallace made the dunk, giving South Carolina a five point lead and ending the Cats' run in the SEC.
"They were a better team today," said Bobby Perry, "I hope they win the tournament. They deserve it."
"They got to the loose balls quicker than we did," said Joe Crawford, "and there were a couple of bounces that just went their way. They wanted it more than we did. That's the bottom line."
The game was close all day long. The Wildcats did build a seven point lead mid way through the first half, when Ramel Bradley hit a three pointer to make it 17-10. But Brice Sheldon, Tre Kelley and Tarence Kinsey brought the Gamecocks back with key buckets and USC took the lead back at 23-22 at the 6:04 mark.
The game was nip-tuck the rest of the way. The critical juncture came at the 6:45 mark of the second half, after Joe Crawford tied the score at 53 with a three point shot. Brice Sheldon responded with another three, giving USC the lead. On the next play Crawford had an open look but missed the outside shot that would have tied the game again. Tarence Kinsey nailed another three pushing the lead to six with 5:43 remaining.
The Cats had one good opportunity to get back into the game and that was the three pointer Crawford missed at the 1:13 mark.
The Wildcats will now travel back to Lexington where the NCAA selection committee will decide their fate on Sunday evening. The prevailing wisdom of the prognosticators on hand at the tournament, is that UK will be an 8-10 seed when the brackets are announced.