Robert Morris shocked Kentucky in the first round of the NIT tournament on Tuesday, 59-57.
It ended the Wildcats' season with a thud, following up a national championship in 2012 with an early exit in the NIT tournament.
Playing at home in the Sewall Center, Robert Morris outscored Kentucky in the first half, 28-27. The Colonials started the game on a 10-0 run, led by sophomore forward Lucky Jones.
In the second half, Robert Morris built a 49-36 lead with 8:54 remaining before Kentucky came roaring back, determined not to let its season slip away.
The Wildcats shot better than Robert Morris and out-rebounded the Colonials, 20-17, but committed nine turnovers, which led to a large disparity between the two squads in field-goal attempts.
Junior guard Jarrod Polson came off the bench for the Wildcats to score 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, but it wasn't enough, as Kentucky was stunned in Moon Township, Pa.
Jones was ejected with 3:41 remaining in the ballgame for a hard foul on Archie Goodwin, leaving the Colonials without one of their top scorers, but Robert Morris was still able to hold on down the stretch.
Mike McFadden hit two free throws with less than 10 seconds left to win the game for the Colonials.
Jones finished with 15 points while going 4-of-5 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Jones and senior Russell Johnson were responsible for 29 of the Colonials' 59 points in the game.
Free-throw shooting was big for Robert Morris on the night—it went 14-of-14 from the charity stripe.
Goodwin finished with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
A forgettable season for the Wildcats ended in the worst possible way. There will be a lot of questions surrounding Kentucky's spectacular letdown in the offseason.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted before the game:
Kentucky home games averaged 23,099 fans. In 15 home games this season, Robert Morris had a combined attendance of 15,692— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 19, 2013
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell took a shot at Kentucky:
Tomorrow’s headline in Lexington might be ONE AND DONE…IN NIT.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) March 20, 2013
"If Kentucky loses tonight, I'm going to feel really bad for John Calipari." - Nobody— Peyton's Head (@PeytonsHead) March 20, 2013
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted:
Only thing more dreadful for Kentucky kids than losing to Robert Morris in NIT would've been winning and having to keep playing in the NIT.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 20, 2013
Michael Smith of ESPN tweeted:
Don't worry. I'm not going to say anything about the first round NIT court storming that just took place on ESPN.— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) March 20, 2013