In a defensive struggle in which both teams refused to give an inch it was the Kentucky Wildcats who prevailed down the stretch.
Kentucky led by 16 points at the half, 32-16. Cornell chipped away at the lead until they pulled within six at 40-34 with 5:42 remaining on a three by Louis Dale.
The Wildcats went on a 22-11 run to end the game. Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe aided the Wildcats in putting away the Big Red as he scored ten of the Wildcats' 15 points in the final 2:45 to give the Wildcats the 17 point victory.
The Cats scored the ten of the games last twelve points in the final 1:17, including the game's final eight points.
Bledsoe connected on eight consecutive free throws in that span and picked up an assist on a John Wall fast break dunk.
Kentucky's stingy defense held the Big Red of Cornell to 33.3% from the field, including holding the NCAA's best three point shooting team to 23.8% from behind the arc.
The Wildcats shot 44% from the field, despite hitting only 2 of 16 from behind the arc. Kentucky dominated in nearly every statistical category by winning the battle of the boards by double digits; the Cats dished out 15 assists to Cornell's 8; committed 13 turnovers to Cornell's 15; and blocked six shots to Cornell's 3.
The Wildcats spread the wealth offensively. DeMarcus Cousins led the Cats with 16 points, while pulling down 7 rebounds and picking off four steals. Eric Bledsoe added 12 points and three assists. Junior Patrick Patterson scored 9 points and pulled down a game high 12 rebounds. Wall came oh so close to a triple double by scoring 8 points, dishing out 8 assists, and pulling down 7 rebounds. Darius Miller scored 9 points and dished out 4 assists and came away with three steals.
Dale led all scorers with 17 points, and fellow senior Ryan Wittman ended his career by scoring 10 for Cornell. Ironically, Wittman's father, Indiana's Randy Wittman, also saw his career ended at the hands of the Wildcats in a regional semi-final loss. The elder Wittman's Mideast Regional semifinal loss to Kentucky came in 1983.
Kentucky is set to take on West Virginia at 7:00 pm Saturday with a trip to the Final Four at stake.
Cats defeat Cornell, move on to Elite Eight
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