LOS ANGELES - Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers hung on to make the Final Four again. "Frank the Tank" scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added his second straight career high of 27, and the West Regional's top seed beat No. 2 Arizona, 85-78, Saturday to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.
LOS ANGELES - Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers hung on to make the Final Four again.
"Frank the Tank" scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added his second straight career high of 27, and the West Regional's top seed beat No. 2 Arizona, 85-78, Saturday to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.
The Badgers (35-3) denied the Wildcats (34-4) a Final Four berth for the second straight year, having beaten them by one point in overtime in Anaheim a year ago when their seeds were reversed.
Coach Bo Ryan and Wisconsin will head to Indianapolis next week hoping for another shot at undefeated and top-seeded Kentucky. Kentucky beat the Badgers by one point in the national semifinals last year.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - who, like Wisconsin's Ryan, played at Chester High - and Brandon Ashley scored 17 points each for the Wildcats, who once again failed to deliver a first-time Final Four appearance for coach Sean Miller. T.J. McConnell added 14 points in his last college game and Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York had 11 each.
Just like a year ago, Kaminsky came up big for the Badgers. He sidestepped and slithered, pivoted and deked in eluding the Wildcats' lockdown defense. Arizona tossed its biggest bodies on the 7-footer and he still found ways to score.
The Badgers hit 10 of 12 three-point attempts in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats, 30-3, from long range.
Arizona pressured full court in the last four minutes, making for some perilous possessions by the Badgers as they darted and passed trying to safely get the ball down the court. A long inbounds pass by Wisconsin was nearly intercepted before Josh Gasser grabbed it, was fouled, and made both free throws to keep the Badgers ahead by 10.
The Wildcats twice got within five points in the last 2:30, but both times Dekker dashed their hopes with arcing three-pointers.
Kaminsky led the Badgers' offensive outburst to start the second half. He scored eight of their 14 points, working their inside-outside game to perfection in finding Dekker for a three-pointer to put Wisconsin ahead, 44-36.
Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski picked up their third fouls and freshman Stanley Johnson left the game to have his contact lens adjusted, all in quick succession. It didn't faze the Wildcats, who went on a 10-3 run to close to 47-46.
Dekker hit Wisconsin's fifth three-pointer of the second half, launching a 10-2 spurt that gave the Badgers a 57-48 lead. Nigel Hayes added a three-pointer and Kaminsky scored on a reverse layup before getting called for his third foul.
Arizona led, 33-30, at halftime after missing 7 of 8 field goals to start the game.
The Badgers jumped to a 10-2 lead to start the game, with Ashley going to the bench after two quick fouls. He soon returned, scoring six straight points that tied the game.