A game after being held to two points, Kentucky freshman point guard Brandon Knight exploded for a career-high 30 points on Saturday as the Wildcats knocked off West Virginia 71-63 to advance to the Sweet 16.
In Thursday’s tournament opener Knight had one of his worst games, but did manage to score his only field goal at the right time as he knocked down the leaner to break a 57-57 tie against Princeton as time was expiring. The big bucket propelled him into the second round matchup.
“Definitely for me I feel a lot more anxiety, especially coming into today's game, not playing so well [Thursday]. But just playing these type of games where you know if you lose your season is done, I think guys really come out and they fight a lot harder, they go after rebounds a lot tougher," Knight told reporters after the game.
"It kind of changes the game," the 6-foot-3 guard added. "Guys play tough throughout the season, but I think they step it up a notch in the tournament."
Several other players had a key role in the game, including Josh Harrelson who controlled the boards on both ends. However, the Wildcats are only going to go as far will take them and if Saturday was any indication the sky was the limit.
The victory was a big one for head coach John Calipari, who has struggled against West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins during his career. Saturday’s win was only the second in nine tries for Calipari versus his friendly foe.