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Kentucky beats Davidson, awaits Arizona or Buffalo in second round

Now we know who Arizona will play if it beats Buffalo

Davidson v Kentucky Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

BOISE — We’re one step closer to that highly-anticipated Arizona-Kentucky second round matchup.

The No. 5 seeded Kentucky Wildcats took down the No. 12 seeded Davidson Wildcats 78-73 on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman phenom Kevin Knox led Kentucky with 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 19 points and 8 rebounds.

UK did not make a single 3, but its size and athleticism was overwhelming, as it outrebounded Davidson 36-28 and had a 36-20 edge in points in the paint.

And that was even with UK’s leading rebounder, Jarred Vanderbilt, out with an ankle injury. The freshman is not expected to play in the Round of 32, though UK head coach John Calipari did not entirely rule him out.

Davidson trailed by 10 at half, and tied the game at 52 with roughly nine minutes to play, but was never able to take the lead, despite being within one possession for long stretches.

Davidson was 11-of-33 from 3.

So the Wildcats of Lexington have done their part to reach the second round, now it’s up to the Wildcats of Tucson to do theirs.

No. 4 seeded Arizona takes on the No. 13 seeded Buffalo Bulls on Thursday at approximately 6:50 p.m. PT. The winner plays Kentucky on Saturday. The time and date of that game have not been announced yet.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire