12:28pm

Sat March 22, 2014
Sports

EKU Colonels Head Home As UK Wildcats Advance in NCAA Tourney

The University of Kentucky Wildcats are staying in St. Louis for the weekend for another game in the 2014 NCAA tournament.  It took some doing, but UK held fast in beating Kansas State by seven.  Eastern Kentucky University, meanwhile, brought a yeoman's effort against number-two-seeded Kansas before falling 80-69. 

EKU Senior Glenn Cosey sparked the upset-minded Colonels early with four first-half three-pointers at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis
EKU Senior Glenn Cosey sparked the upset-minded Colonels early with four first-half three-pointers at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis
Credit ekusports.com

The Eastern Kentucky University's men played traditional power Kansas tight for much of the game.  For the second straight season, the Colonels tallied more than 20 wins.  But, Colonel Coach Jeff Neubauer admits getting into the NCAA is a difference-maker, saying it's a "totally different animal than just winning 25 games." "I'm really proud of our team for pushing Kansas and we certainly came in here to win the game, but our guys did play hard as heck," said Neubauer."

Eastern held a nine point lead in the first half and kept it close with 12 three-pointers for the game.  The Ohio Valley Conference champion finished the year at 24 and ten.

Wildcats Move On to Next Round

Kentucky Wlidcat' forward Julius Randle (30) went strong for a basket over Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson (42) as Kentucky defeated Kansas State 56-49 in the NCAA tournament Friday March 21, 2014 in St. Louis, MO
Kentucky Wlidcat' forward Julius Randle (30) went strong for a basket over Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson (42) as Kentucky defeated Kansas State 56-49 in the NCAA tournament Friday March 21, 2014 in St. Louis, MO
Credit www.kentucky.com - Lexington Herald-Leader

It's been a year with a few surprising losses for the University of Kentucky, but Friday night the Wildcats put it together to hold the lead through much of the contest.  UK seven-foot center Willie Cauley Stein hauled down eight rebounds and blocked four shots.  He admits it's been a whole new ballgame for him and his teammates down the stretch of this season, "You know there for a couple of games, I lost focus of what I was really trying to do and now it's just picking up again.  I mean, it's a difference of a game, for real."

The post-game news conference turned quickly to Sunday's matchup with undefeated Wichita State.  In their first game, the Shockers got an early lead and kept a comfortable margin over Cal-Poly.  UK Head Coach John Calipari says the 35 and 0 Shockers are sound top-to-bottom. "They've got really good players.  You don't go 35 or 36 and oh or whatever they are without having really good players," said Calipari.  "And they have really good players, and they play hard, and compete," he continued.

The Wildcats are scheduled to play the second game Sunday afternoon at 2:4p in the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis.