Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) - Da'Sean Butler's 18 points and Joe Mazzulla's career effort paced West Virginia to its first Final Four since 1959, as the Mountaineers took advantage of an ice-cold Kentucky squad for a 73-66 victory in the East Regional final of the NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia (31-6), the No. 2 seed, made 10-of-23 from three-point range, while the top-seeded Wildcats (35-3) missed close to half of their free throws and all but four of their 32 attempts from behind the arc to fall for just the second time in their last 18 games.
The Mountaineers advanced to play the winner of Sunday's South Regional final between Duke and Baylor next Saturday in Indianapolis. The Blue Devils are the only No. 1 seed remaining in the tourney.
Mazzulla, in his first start of the season in place of the injured Darryl Bryant (foot), scored a career-high 17 points, while Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks added 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the surprising result.
Freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, both regarded as NBA lottery picks if they decide to enter the NBA Draft this year, finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively, for the Wildcats, who also lost in their previous three regional finals in 1999, 2003 and 2005.
Head coach John Calipari brought in the highly-touted freshman class in his first year at the helm but failed to guide his third different team to the Final Four, though the appearances by Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008 were later vacated due to violations of NCAA rules.