BOISE – It’ll take more than experience, grit and a double-digit dream to knock these kids from Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament.
Namely, it’ll take someone to slow down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his fellow freshmen, who are zeroing in on the finer points of the John Calipari Hoop School at precisely the right time.
Kentucky put an end to any upset talk on its watch Saturday, getting 27 points, six rebounds and six assists from Gilgeous-Alexander in a 95-75 pullaway from scrappy, veteran 13th-seeded Buffalo.
Gilgeous-Alexander went 10 for 12 and made both of his 3-point attempts to send fifth-seeded Kentucky (26-10) to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.
“We are inexperienced and all that stuff,” Calipari said. “But I’ve got good players.”
This didn’t turn into a runaway until the last seven minutes.
Buffalo (27-9), which got here with a 21-point blowout over No. 4 Arizona, twice trimmed a double-digit lead to five midway through the second half.
Gilgeous-Alexander answered both times – once with a 3-pointer to extend the lead back to eight, then again a few minutes later with a three-point play that started a 12-2 run and put the game away.
“We didn’t have an answer for him,” Bulls coach Nate Oats said. “He was a major problem for us defensively.”
The Wildcats have won nine of 10 since snapping a four-game losing streak in February.
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