published Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Kentucky beats Kansas for NCAA basketball championship, 67-59

The Kentucky bench cheers during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against Kansas, Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.
The Kentucky bench cheers during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against Kansas, Monday, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW ORLEANS — Doron Lamb scored 22 points, and Kentucky won its eighth national championship, holding off Kansas for a 67-59 victory Monday night.

The Wildcats (38-2) led by as many as 18 points in the first half and were still up 15 with 5:13 to play. Kansas (32-7), a team which rallied from several big deficits this season, was able to get as close as 62-57 with 1:37 to play.

Kentucky closed the game by making five of seven free throws over the final 1:11 and that set off quite a celebration in the Superdome.

Kentucky's Anthony Davis, only the second freshmen to be selected national player of the year, had six points on 1-of-10 shooting but finished with 16 rebounds and tied the championship-game record with six blocks.

Tyshawn Taylor had 19 points for the Jayhawks, and All-America Thomas Robinson had 18 on 6-of-17 shooting and had 17 rebounds.

The Wildcats' 41-27 halftime lead was one of the biggest in title game history. North Carolina had a 21-point lead over Michigan State in 2009.

Kentucky's last title came in 1998 and that year the Wildcats set the record for largest halftime deficit overcome, rallying from a 41-31 deficit to beat Utah 78-69. Kansas couldn't get that record.

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