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No. 5 Kentucky outlasts No. 12 Davidson

Davidson v Kentucky

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Sacha Killeya-Jones #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after dunking the ball in the second half against the Davidson Wildcats during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Davidson had its shots. They just missed too frequently down the stretch.

No. 5 Kentucky outlasted No. 12 Davidson, 78-73, on Thursday evening, surviving the upset bid and advancing to Saturday’s second round against Buffalo.

UK led for nearly the entire evening, but found itself tied with Davidson with under 8 minutes to play. John Calipari’s team edged back out in front, but Davidson was persistent. Bob McKillop’s group had chances to tie or lead late, but the hot 3-point shooting that got them back into the game suddenly abandoned them as they missed six-straight from distance after they tied the game.

Davidson ultimately made just 11 of 13 of its 3s while Kentucky didn’t make a single one. UK missed all six of its offerings from beyond the arc.

Making up for the 3-point disparity was Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The pair combined to score 44 points and go 18 of 21 from the line. Knox of 8 of 16 from the floor and Gilgeous-Alexander, who also had eight rebounds, 5 of 13. Kentucky shot 51 percent as a team from the floor.

Jon Axel Gudmundsson, in addition to having an amazing name, scored 21 points for Davidson, going 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Kelian Grady had 16 points.

While going 0-for from 3-point range didn’t cost Kentucky a victory against the Atlantic 10 tournament champions, it’ shard to see that formula holding up in the later rounds, whether it’s in another all-Wildcats matchup with Arizona or against Buffalo. UK isn’t dependent on making many shots from deep, but the math of 3 > 2 is irrefutable and if an opponent that can match them physically can also make a few shots, it’s going to be trouble for Kentucky.