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Knight falls on WVU as Kentucky moves on

Mar 19, 2011 - 7:44 PM Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Freshman Brandon Knight followed up his heroics in his NCAA Tournament debut with a career-high 30 points, and the Kentucky Wildcats exacted a measure of revenge by posting a 71-63 victory over West Virginia in a third-round matchup from the East Region.

Knight, who missed his first seven shots Thursday against Princeton before hitting the game-winning layup with two seconds left, finished 9-of-20 from the field and converted 9-of-10 free throws on Saturday.

"I felt more confident. My teammates continued to have faith in me even though I didn't play such a great game," Knight said.

Josh Harrellson totaled 15 points and eight rebounds for fourth-seeded Kentucky (27-8), which overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. The Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight in 2010 before losing to West Virginia.

Kentucky will next play the winner between top-seeded Ohio State and No. 8 George Mason.

Joe Mazzulla led the fifth-seeded Mountaineers (21-12) with a career-high 20 points.

West Virginia led 41-33 after ending the first half on a 22-7 surge. But Kentucky registered the first 11 points coming out of the break. The Mountaineers snapped their drought on a Mazzulla layup just beyond the six- minute mark.

"We knew they were going to come out strong, and we had talked about trying to weather that storm in the first four or five minutes, and we didn't do a good job," Mazzulla said.

Casey Mitchell completed a four-point play and Darryl Bryant made a layup to put the Mountaineers up 55-51 with 7:37 remaining. The Wildcats then strung together nine straight points, the last coming when Darius Miller knocked down a trey for a 60-55 edge with 4:11 left.

West Virginia closed within 61-58 and, after Terrence Jones sank 1-of-2 at the line, Bryant fired a three-pointer that rimmed out. Knight then made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 61 seconds to seal the win.

Game Notes

Jones had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats...Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins grabbed nine boards...Bryant and Mitchell scored 15 and 11 points, respectively...West Virginia had reached the Sweet 16 in five of its previous six NCAA Tournament appearances.