NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Let’s hope this was just an appetizer.
Kentucky and Texas A&M slugged it out in a wonderfully entertaining SEC tournament championship game on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, with the Wildcats pulling it out in overtime 82-77 thanks to a pair of clutch 3-pointers by Derek Willis and Jamal Murray with the shot clock winding down.
Both the Wildcats (26-8) and Aggies (26-8) made strong cases for top-four seeds (or higher) in the NCAA tournament. Murray, who hadn’t shot particularly well in the game, banged home the dagger with a long 3-pointer with 18 seconds to play in overtime, giving the Wildcats an 81-75 lead. He finished just 3-of-10 from 3-point range. Murray's 3 came on the heels of Willis connecting from the corner, breaking a 75-75 tie.
Texas A&M led 38-34 at the half and kept fighting back every time it appeared Kentucky might be on the verge of breaking the game open in front of what might as well have been a home crowd for the Wildcats. The Aggies’ Danuel House led all scorers with 32 points.
It was Kentucky’s 29th SEC tournament championship, and the Wildcats have now won 14 of the past 24 SEC tournaments.
Ulis MVP: Kentucky sophomore guard Tyler Ulis was named the tourney MVP. He finished Sunday's game with 30 points and was 10-of-17 from the field. Ulis was brilliant all tournament. In three games, he played 115 minutes with 15 assists and just four turnovers while scoring 72 points.
Then there were two? The big question coming out of the SEC later on Sunday, when the NCAA field is announced, is whether Kentucky and Texas A&M will be the league’s only two teams in the tournament. The last time that happened was 1979, when conferences were limited to just two teams.