CLEVELAND - From the Department of Famous Last Words, we bring you the unfortunate and seriously misguided comment made Wednesday by West Virginia freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr. about facing undefeated Kentucky:
"Salute to them getting to 36-0, but they're going to be 36-1." Oh, and: "They don't play hard."
Even a freshman should know better than to pull the Wildcats by the tail like that. Coach John Calipari's collection of all-star talent put the boastful Mountaineers in their place in short order on their way to a ridiculously lopsided 78-39 victory in a Midwest Regional semifinal game Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
The 37-0 Wildcats advanced to Saturday's regional final against Notre Dame (32-5). History tells us it was the Irish who ended UCLA's all-time best 88-game winning streak way back in 1974, but they might want to zip their lips about that.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he isn't upset with Miles. "It was a freshman who said it," he said. "I'm happy he had enough confidence instead of going and hiding in a corner."
On the other hand, the Wildcats did not take kindly to Miles' remarks. "You've got no right to talk to us like that," forward Willie Cauley-Stein said. "You didn't battle the stuff we went through. C'mon, dude, we're going to show you we play hard."
Wildcats freshman point guard Tyler Ulis said the goal was to win by 50. "They talked like they were going to try to bully him into turning the ball over and post him up," Cauley-Stein said. "He definitely took it as a mission."
Ulis scored only two points but had a team-high four assists and, more importantly, zero turnovers. Kentucky had four double-figures scorers -- Trey Lyles (14), Andrew Harrison (13), Aaron Harrison (12) and Devin Booker (12) -- and Cauley-Stein had an outstanding game with eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Karl-Anthony Towns, a leading contender to become the NBA's No. 1 overall draft pick, got in early foul trouble and totaled one point and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Juwan Staten led West Virginia with 14 points and shot a respectable 5-for-13, but the Mountaineers shot a collective 24.1 percent (13-for-54).
After Kentucky scored the opening basket of the game, Staten scored at the 18:15 mark to tie it for the Mountaineers (25-10). They should have taken a picture of the scoreboard right then because that was as close as they would get all night. When Staten scored West Virginia's second basket with 11:18 left in the half after 10 straight misses and four turnovers, it cut the Wildcats' lead to 18-4.
"It was hard," WVU forward Devin Williams said. "They did what they were supposed to do. You can't stop destiny."
The Wildcats held the Mountaineers to 5-for-26 shooting in the first half and took a 44-18 lead. When a CBS courtside reporter stopped Calipari for a comment on his way to the locker room, the Kentucky coach said of West Virginia, "They're a team that can come back."
That sparked a nationwide barrage of Twitter posts with that quote accompanied by pictures of various people laughing their heads off.
The Wildcats allowed only one point in the first 8:16 of the second half and led 54-19 with 11:44 to go. Kentucky's lead reached a high of 41 points near the end, and the Mountaineers' 39 was their season low by 11.
Asked if he hopes Notre Dame talks trash, Cauley-Stein smiled and said: "I'm going to have one of my boys make a fake Twitter account."