CAPTION: Apr 2, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Anthony Davis (left) and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (right) kiss the NCAA National Championship trophy after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the finals of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball Final Four at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Won And Done! Kentucky Clinches 2012 National Championship Over Kansas, 67-59

The Kansas Jayhawks made things interesting with a furious second-half rally, but they couldn't close the gap against Anthony Davis and the Kentucky Wildcats. SI.com: Box Score

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NCAA Tournament 2012 Championship, Kentucky Vs. Kansas Final Score: Wildcats' 67-59 Victory Earns First Title Since 1998

Kentucky held the lead from early on in the 2012 NCAA Tournament final on Monday night. And the Wildcats seemed to be bobbling it in the second half as Kansas made an improbable run. But the immensely talented Wildcats ultimately held on for a 67-59 victory, giving the most successful program in college basketball its first national championship since 1998 — and allowing John Calipari to hold the trophy high for the first time in his career.


Nick Fasulo on Kentucky's win

The Wildcats got contributions from up and down their roster, like a game-high 22 points from Doron Lamb and 11 points, six rebounds, and a clutch defensive play from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and built a 16-point lead with 10:00 to go in the second half. But Anthony Davis, their superlative forward, starred in Kentucky's coronation despite making just one field goal: he had 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists, and three steals, more than making up for a subpar six-point outing with all-around brilliance.

Kansas would not let Kentucky ascend the ladder without a fight, though, and ripped off a 13-3 run late in the second half to close to within five points. Thomas Robinson ended the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Tyshawn Taylor had a 6-0 spurt within that run, but the Jayhawks didn't have enough firepower to stay with star-studded Kentucky.

The Wildcats didn't encounter a team in the 2012 NCAA Tournament that did: their six wins came by an average of 15.4 points, and none by fewer than eight.

For more on the Wildcats, check out A Sea of Blue. For more on the Jayhawks, head over to the SB Nation blog Rock Chalk Talk. For more updates on tonight's championship game throughout the day, keep it tuned to this StoryStream.

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NCAA Tournament 2012 Championship, Kentucky Vs. Kansas Score: Wildcats Up Huge, 41-27

After a fantastic first half in the 2012 NCAA Tournament final, Kentucky is 20 minutes from a national championship. The Wildcats are up 41-27 on Kansas at halftime.

Kentucky's offensive assault has conscripted most of its starters: Doron Lamb has 12 points, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 11, and Marquis Teague nine. But the shocking stat of the first half is the goose egg under points for Anthony Davis. The Kentucky big man was held scoreless in the first period — though he did grab nine rebounds, dish four assists, and record three blocks. If Kentucky can be well ahead of Kansas without his assistance on the offensive end, the Jayhawks may have little reason to be hopeful in the second half.

It would help Kansas if Thomas Robinson could get untracked. The Jayhawks' star has eight points, but they came on pitiful 3-for-11 shooting, and only Tyshawn Taylor, also with eight points, joins Robinson in the "Kansas Players Who Have More Than Five Points Club." The Jayhawks may want to leverage the length of Robinson and Jeff Withey on the glass, too: Kentucky has 22 boards to Kansas' 14.

For more on the Wildcats, check out A Sea of Blue. For more on the Jayhawks, head over to the SB Nation blog Rock Chalk Talk. For more updates on tonight's championship game throughout the day, keep it tuned to this StoryStream.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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