Kentucky loses, 77-68, to No. 9 Kansas

The Rupp Arena crowd was in top shape, but Big Blue Nation couldn’t cheer their team all the way to victory.

Saturday evening, The Kentucky Wildcats (14-7; 5-3 SEC) came up short against the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks (17-4; 5-3 Big 12), falling by a score of 77-68. Both sides shot a total of 49 percent from the field, but UK could not overcome a poor attacking performance in the first half. Only four offensive rebounds and zero second chance points plagued the Cats.

Four different Kentucky players finished in double figures, led by 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists Oscar Chibuy. Casson Wallace And Jacob Tobin Broken at 14 pips in a while Antonio Reeves He contributed 10 of his own. Kansas was aided by a stellar night from All-American Jalen Wilson, who finished with 22 points and eight rebounds.

Behind the roar of more than 20,000, Kentucky got off to a fuel-injected start, taking an early 9-4 lead after just four minutes into the contest. The cats were running around on the playground as they pleased, supported by a pair of Fastbreak buckets from Chris Livingston.

But Kansas quickly regrouped and settled down. Both sides began to score at a high rate with the pace gradually accelerating. Midway through the first half, the Jayhawks held a slight 21-20 advantage and slowly inflated it from there as the Cats began to stall. Two errors each on Toppin and Tshiebwe didn’t help Kentucky’s case either, as Kansas took a 41-34 lead into the locker room.

Despite shooting overall over 55 percent from the field in the first half, UK were 0-6 from behind the arc and only 4-11 from the free throw line with zero offensive rebounds. Defensive pick-and-roll malfunctions especially hurt Kentucky as Kansas turned 11-12 on slumps and suspensions. Toppin and Livingston led the way for the ‘Cats with eight points each after 20 minutes of the night.

From the second half, Kentucky kept the score close, but couldn’t get over the hump. Kansas held a small lead throughout the beginning of the second half. UK managed to make it a one-point game at the 11:55 mark thanks to a Wallace triple, but the Jayhawks got their answer again, promptly pushing their lead to six.

With time still running down, Kansas continued with big shot after big shot. Three straight Jayhawks made it 70-64 in favor of KU in a media timeout under four minutes. Tshiebwe hit a pair of free throws off the short break, but timely buckets from Kansas—especially Wilson—made it 75-68 with less than two minutes left.

There would be no coming back as Kentucky fell 77-68 in a high-energy battle, snapping the team’s four-game winning streak and ending Kansas’ three-game losing skid.

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