Keldon Johnson, No. 2 Kentucky Beat No. 3 Houston, Advance to Elite 8 vs. Auburn

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

Kentucky's Tyler Herro (14) and Immanuel Quickley celebrate following a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against Houston Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Kentucky is now one game away from the Final Four after the No. 2 seed earned a 62-58 win over No. 3 Houston Friday.

Tyler Herro had the biggest shot of the day, knocking down a go-ahead three-pointer with 25 seconds left after a PJ Washington block:

Herro finished with 19 points, including the game-sealing free throws to lead Kentucky to the Sweet 16 victory at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Washington returned from injury and contributed 16 points to help the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight for the seventh time in 10 years under head coach John Calipari.

Armoni Brooks scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to help take the late lead, but it wasn't enough to keep Houston's season alive after a program-record 33 wins.

Washington's health was Kentucky's biggest concern coming into the game after missing the first two rounds with a foot injury. He began on the bench but checked in after a few minutes, and his presence was felt right away.

He scored eight points in the first half and drew a lot of attention from the defense, which opened things up for the rest of his team.

The forward finished his night 6-of-8 from the field, including a few key shots late.

Additionally, adding Washington to a frontcourt that also includes Reid Travis and EJ Montgomery allowed the Wildcats to dominate inside against a smaller opponent. With a 17-7 first-half rebounding advantage, Kentucky was able to gain an 11-point lead at halftime. 

The second half was a much different story, however, as Houston picked up its defense and made everything difficult on that end of the court.

Kentucky turned the ball over 14 times in the game and scored just 10 points in the first 15 minutes of the second period.

This allowed the Cougars to crawl back and eventually tie the game at 49 with just over four minutes remaining.

The three-point shooting was incredible down the stretch as well, as the team went 6-of-14 from three-point range in the second half after starting 1-of-6 in the first.

Brooks was especially impressive, giving Houston the late lead with this deep shot:

Corey Davis Jr. also did everything he could while finishing with 14 points.

Still, the Wildcats prevailed thanks to the strong play by Washington and Herro on both ends of the court.

Kentucky will now take on the red-hot Auburn Tigers in the Elite Eight, a team that earned a 97-80 win over North Carolina earlier Friday.

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