This is why you have two Harrisons. When one messes up, the other wins the game.
After Andrew Harrison nearly gifted Wisconsin a win in the 2014 Final Four, Aaron Harrison hit a three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to give the Kentucky Wildcats a 74-73 victory over the Badgers to earn a place in the national championship:
This is the 12th time the Wildcats have reached the national championship, tied for the most in history, per ESPN Stats and Info:
Traevon Jackson had a chance to win the game at the buzzer for Wisconsin, but his shot banked off the front rim.
It was a shot before that that Jackson will rue the most.
With one second on the shot clock and 16.4 seconds on the game clock, Andrew Harrison fouled Jackson on a three-point attempt.
As CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander said, it was a major break for the Badgers:
Kentucky had been biting on pump fakes all game, and Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde correctly pointed out that it came back to haunt them here:
Jackson missed the first of his three free throws, which was coincidentally the first Wisconsin had missed all night as a team, before knocking down the next two. Little did the Badgers know, that one miss would play such a huge role in the final outcome.
Aaron Harrison hitting a key three-pointer from the left wing is nothing new, as Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com's shot-by-shot comparison of his winner against Wisconsin with his winner against the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite Eight indicates:
After the game, Harrison remained remarkably composed given the circumstances, per The Associated Press:
Wisconsin's Sam Dekker was gracious in defeat, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Courier-Journal:
Harrison may have finished the game with just eight points, but he only needed three to win the game.
That shot was a fitting conclusion to what had been a great battle.
Wisconsin couldn't have started the game any better. Even though Frank Kaminsky had two first-half points, the Badgers never trailed in the final 15 minutes before halftime, building a 40-36 lead. They did a great job of working the ball around the perimeter and finding open shooters.
Julius Randle was slowed by an injury for parts of the first half after rolling his ankle, per CBS Sports' Eye on College Basketball:
Without Willie Cauley-Stein in the lineup, Dakari Johnson was spending a lot of time on the floor and exerting a ton of energy. That, in turn, forced Kentucky to stack more defenders inside when Wisconsin tried to work the ball into the post, which meant Badgers shooters were getting open looks from three-point range.
It was all a vicious cycle for the Wildcats.
Freshman guard Bronson Koenig was the biggest benefactor, per BTN.com's Sean Merriman:
Kentucky should've considered itself lucky that it was only down four points going into the second half. Although, Wisconsin's free-throw and turnover numbers looked unsustainable, per CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel:
The second half was all about one team going on a run and the other team reacting. Wisconsin would get the edge, then Kentucky clawed its way back. When the Wildcats looked to be in the driver's seat, the Badgers hit a clutch three-pointer.
It played out like a game of musical chairs. The question was which team would be left standing when the music stopped.
On the heels of a 15-0 run, the Wildcats jumped out to a 51-43 lead with 15:33 left in the game. It was such a 180 from how the game had unfolded up to that point. Everything was going in Kentucky's favor.
Forde credited the turnaround to Kentucky's work on the glass:
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller used a great analogy to characterize what was happening:
By this stage of the contest, it looked like Wisconsin would be swept up in a blue-and-white tidal wave. An alley-oop from Andrew Harrison to Marcus Lee brought the house down at AT&T Stadium:
The Badgers weren't dead, yet. Playing the role of unheralded star this time for Wisconsin was junior forward Duje Dukan, who scored eight points in a three-minute span to give his team a 56-55 lead with 11:52 to go.
Bo Ryan's team did a great job of withstanding Kentucky's onslaught and remaining composed enough to answer before the hole became too deep to dig out of, according to Forde:
Of course, Kentucky made sure to save one last run for the end of the game.
The Wildcats will play Connecticut in the national championship. With Kentucky's No. 8 seed and the Huskies' No. 7 seed, it's the lowest combination of seeds ever in the national championship.
While Kentucky arguably has the edge talent-wise, Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels are playing out of their minds at the moment. It should be a great national championship.