INDIANAPOLIS, In. (LEX 18) — In a battle between two of the elite Blue Bloods of college basketball, Kentucky was on the losing end in a close one against Kansas, falling 65-62.
It was another dreadful second half for Kentucky. The worst thing about that is Kansas didn't have a great second half either.
Turnovers were once again an issue, as Kentucky turned it over 16 times after turning it over 21 times against Richmond on Sunday.
The Wildcats shot just 26.7% in the second half. Not only were they cold from the field, they were extremely cold from three-point range again, shooting 3-21 from beyond the arc all game. In the last two games, Kentucky has gone 3-31 from deep.
Despite the struggles in the second half, Kentucky had a chance at the end. With under 8 minutes to play, Kentucky took a 49-45 lead after Isaiah Jackson had one of his 8 blocks of the contest that led to a Davion Mintz three-pointer.
Kansas didn't give in, when Ochai Agbaji scored 5 quick points to give the Jayhawks a 60-55 lead. Agbaji finished with 17 points. Jalen Winston would lead the game with 23 points, with 21 of those points coming in the second half.
Mintz would keep Kentucky alive in the final seconds. He hit his second three of the night with 12 seconds left to narrow the gap to 64-62.
After Kansas made a free throw at the other end to make it 65-62, Mintz had one last shot to send it to overtime, but missed the three, sending Kentucky to its second straight loss.
The Wildcats will return to the floor on Sunday when they travel to Georgia Tech. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
`1st Half recap
After a sluggish start from both teams in the first half, Kentucky caught a spark and went on a 15-0 run to take a 17-5 lead.
The Wildcats length proved to be a huge problem for Kansas in the first half. However, the Jayhawks would surge late in the half and cut the deficit to 35-29 at halftime.
In the opening 20 minutes, Kentucky shot 45% from the field while Kansas shot 31%.
The turnover/assist ration wasn't great for both teams as the Wildcats had 8 turnovers and 5 assists, while the Jayhawks had 8 turnovers and 3 assists.
Isaiah Jackson, in my opinion, could become the best player on this year's team. We hear so much about Brandon Boston Jr. and Terrence Clarke, and rightfully so, but with Jackson's build up near the end of the offseason and through two of his performances in three games this year. Holy cow. He's a gamechanger on the defensive end of the floor. He finished with 7 points, 12 rebounds and 8 blocks.
If Olivier Sarr can stay out of foul trouble, it's going to be even more difficult for team's to even attempt to work the post. But he committed his third foul early in the second half and had to go to the bench for nearly six minutes. He finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds
Davion Mintz provided some key moments of the game with his play tonight. He also provided some key moments for Kansas with some of his turnovers. He led the team with 12 points and had two of the three 3-point baskets for the Wildcats
Brandon Boston Jr. was pretty quiet tonight. That's the first time we can say that about him. He did have a couple of back-to-back highlights during Kentucky's 15-0 run in the first half, but not much since then. He would go on to finish with 12 points on 4-13 shooting with 6 rebounds.
Terrence Clarke was also pretty quiet tonight. He had 6 points on 3-11 shooting.
Devin Askew had his worst game in a Wildcat uniform, despite it just being his third. He had 7 points, but turned the ball over 4 times.