ATLANTA

Barry Brown Jr. darted into the lane, blowing by everybody in blue, and delivered a rare burst of offense just in the nick of time.

He wasn’t done, either.

As Kansas State celebrated yet another upset in the bracket-busting South, knocking out Kentucky’s’ latest group of fabulous freshmen, Brown leaped over the press table like Superman and waded into the arms of the purple-clad fans.

Xavier Sneed scored 22 points and Brown came through with the shot of the game, banking one in with his left hand before he sprawled out on the court to give gritty K-State a 61-58 victory over Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Thursday night.

Demeaned by many pundits as the worst team still alive in the NCAA Tournament, ninth-seeded K-State got the last laugh against a program that holds eight national titles.

Next up: the regional final against No. 11 seed Loyola, which continued its stunning run in the tournament with a 69-68 victory over Nevada .

Yep, it’s 9 vs. 11 in the Elite Eight for the first time in tournament history, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Just the way it should be in a regional that became the first in NCAA history to have the top four seeds knocked out the very first weekend , including No. 1- ranked Virginia.

Sneed wasn’t around at the end — he was among three players from Kansas State (25-11) to foul out — but Brown seized the moment with 18 seconds remaining.

John Calipari was denied a shot at his fifth Final Four in nine seasons as Kentucky’s coach. Fears that his young players would “drink the poison” — the belief that they had an easy path to San Antonio thanks to all the upsets — turned out to be well founded.

“We didn’t play particularly well for us but still had a chance to win,” Calipari said. “The game was physical. … It kind of got us a little out of rhythm and it wears you down. I think Shai got a little worn down “

Kansas State will face the NCAA’s sentimental favorite for a trip to the Final Four.



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