Portland connection reaches NCAA title game

Jones, Wiltjer help Kentucky into National Title game Monday night
March 31, 2012
Kyle Wiltjer celebrates after making a 3-point shot Saturday.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

With recent memory of their play in the Portland area having not yet faced, Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer will take the Rose City's reputation as a basketball resource to the highest stage in college basketball Monday - the National Championship Game.

Jones, who won three state titles while at Jefferson High, had 6 points and 7 rebounds, and Wiltjer, who won three state titles while at Jesuit, came off the bench and scored 5 points in 7 minutes as Kentucky fought off Louisville 69-61 in the semifinals at the New Orleands Superdome Saturday.

Kentucky, ranked No. 1 for most of the season, will play Kansas Monday night in the title game seeking its first title since 1998.

Wildcats' coach John Calipari, who recruited both Jones and Wiltjer to Lexington, will be looking for his first national championship. The Wildcats lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the Final Four last year.

Kansas beat Ohio State 64-62 in the other semifinal Saturday, rallying from a 13-point deficit to win.

Fans on espn.com have made Kentucky a significant favorite, running 70 to 30 percent nationally with only Kansas voters picking the Jayhawks to win.

Kentuky shot 57 percent from the field for the game - just missing the record for a Final Four appearance (61 percent by UNLV in 1990), but was tied 49-all midway through the second half as Louisville, which entered the Big East Conference tournament having lost four straight games, rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit with offensive rebounding and plain willpower.

The Wildcats were able to outshoot them and never trailed in the game.