DES MOINES — John Calipari looked at his assistant coaches just before the final whistle and admitted defeat.
“It was a hell of year guys,” he said. “A hell of a year.”
Calipari’s Kentucky squad fell flat in the second half against Indiana on Saturday night, and couldn’t climb out of a late hole.
The Hoosiers won, 73-67, and advanced to the Sweet 16 next week in Philadelphia.
Kentucky led for much of the game, but succumbed to an Indiana rally at the end of the first half, and then went cold while the Hoosiers built up a late 9-point lead.
The Wildcats cut it to two points with 11 seconds remaining, but Indiana’s Thomas Bryant drained a pair of clutch free throws to keep it a two-possession contest.
Jamal Murray’s missed 3-pointer was the final blow for Kentucky, and a stoic Calipari turned to thank his staff moments later.
Check out a full recap as it happened right here.
MVP: Tyler Ulis. The sophomore point guard had another commendable effort despite the loss. He finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting. He’s likely played his final game in a Wildcats uniform.
Starters: Tyler Ulis (guard), Jamal Murray (guard), Isaiah Briscoe (guard), Alex Poythress (forward) and Skal Labissiere (forward)
Off the bench: Marcus Lee, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Charles Matthews
Cleaning up the glass: This was the two teams’ 57th meeting, all-time. Kentucky still leads the series, 32-25 … The Wildcats were whistled for six offensive fouls … Ulis led all players with 39 minutes on the floor. He fouled out in the final seconds … Murray shot 1-for-9 from 3-point range … Bryant led the Hoosiers with 19 points and tied for the team lead with five rebounds.
What’s next: Indiana moves on to Philadelphia for the Sweet 16. Kentucky’s season is over.