The play's genesis was simple enough: Coming out of the under-eight-minute timeout in the second half, Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson began the possession with a quick pass to Brown on the left wing. Clarkson followed his pass and set a little brush screen, and it was all Brown needed to leave his defender, James Young, flailing. Brown turned the corner in an instant -- so fast he didn't really have time to think about it, he would later say, so fast he barely saw the only player standing between him and the rim.
"I didn't really see him there until I already decided what I was going to do," Brown said. "And when I got past, I think it was Young guarding me, and turned the corner, I knew."
It was one of the few times all eyes weren't on Kentucky's frontcourt star Saturday afternoon. It was certainly the last.
Brown's soaring, right-handed dunk on Randle's head cut Kentucky's lead to three and sent Missouri fans into the appropriate fever. For a moment, the Mizzou Arena JumboTron picture went black, as if the energy in the building caused it to short circuit.
But Randle came alive just as quickly: He hit a short jumper in the lane at the 6:26 mark, giving Kentucky a 70-63 lead. He grabbed a defensive rebound a possession later. He plowed into Missouri's defense to earn a foul (and make both free throws) at 5:18.
Two minutes later, Randle bossed the glass in a rebound-miss-rebound-tip combo that pushed Kentucky's lead to 74-68. In the final minute, after Brown's 25-foot 3 turned into a four-point play that closed the lead to four, Randle responded with another timely touch finish. After Aaron Harrison made a baseline layup, Randle's interior defense kept Clarkson from cutting the lead to a single possession and finished the game then and there.
"Aaron makes his layup, and then Julius -- who played shaky most of the game -- comes up with the block and a rebound, because we made the guy drive left," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "And he blocks it and rebounds it. It's the biggest play that basically ended the game."
Before Brown's dunk, Randle was a bit shaky. He still drew a ton of attention from Missouri's defense -- attention he used to whip a series of crisp passes that led to open shots for Young and Harrison along the perimeter -- but he also floated at times, relying too much on his predictable spin move and guilty of the occasional matador screen.
Clearly, Brown's dunk woke him up. Right?
"Um, yeah," Randle said. "I guess."
When a reporter asked Randle about the dunk -- whether he had indeed become more engaged after Brown put him on a proverbial poster -- Randle gave a confused look. Huh? What dunk?