NEW ORLEANS (AP) - There’s so much more to Kentucky than Anthony Davis.
These were the collaborative `Cats, and that’s what made them so tough to beat.
Davis‘ supporting cast made the most of their turns in the spotlight Monday night, picking up the scoring slack for their freshman star and overwhelming Kansas for a 67-59 victory in the NCAA title game that gave the Wildcats their eighth national title.
“No one cared who got the accolades,” forward Terrence Jones said. “The main goal was getting to this point and winning. That’s what we focused on.”
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist set the tone a minute in, staying in the game after a hard foul that looked as if it might have dislocated his shoulder, and Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb hit clutch shots that held back a late rally by the Jayhawks.
“That’s why we came here, to finally get it done,” forward Kyle Wiltjer said. “We are all just super excited.”
Jones and Darius Miller also made their marks in the type of team effort coach John Calipari has gotten out of the Wildcats (38-2), who had averaged six players in double figures for most of the season.
The Wildcats’ other NBA prospects handled things on the offensive end while Davis went 1 for 10 from the field. The AP player of the year remained his dominant self in every other phase of the game with 16 rebounds, six blocks and five assists.
Lamb, who finished with 22 points, said his only goal when he returned for a second year at Kentucky was to win a national championship.
The sophomore has been a steady force all year for the Wildcats and he was the only Kentucky player who shot well in last year’s national semifinal loss in Houston. He brought his shot to the Superdome this weekend, too.
“He really carried us,” Wiltjer said. “He made some big shots down the stretch and our depth really helped us tonight because no one really knows who’s going to step up and he stepped up tonight.”
After Kansas (32-7) cut it to 10 midway through the second half, Lamb squared up and hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 23-second span to snap the `Cats back after they’d been 3 of 14 from the field with six turnovers to start the second half.
He finished 7 of 12 from the field.
Then it was Teague’s turn.
The point guard was considered the key to keeping the Wildcats playing together and followed in the shoes of past Calipari prodigies such as John Wall, Brandon Knight, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. He finished with 14 points, three assists and two turnovers, making his biggest impact late.