LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky went to Louisville on Saturday to face its biggest rival and dropped its first in four years 62-59. It was also just the third loss for John Calipari against the Cardinals in 14 tries as the UK head coach.
The Wildcats had a three point look at the buzzer but Brandon Boston's look bounced off the rim and away as the Wildcats dropped to 1-6 on the season. UK hasn't won since the opener against Morehead State on November 25.
Devin Askew got the start at point guard for Kentucky while Terrence Clarke was on the bench. The move paid off as Askew scored the first five points for the Wildcats while hitting his first two shots. Jacob Toppin came off the bench to give the Wildcats a boost and looked aggressive on the offensive end hitting his first three shots.
Davion Mintz also helped carry the Wildcats in the first half. He hit back-to-back three pointers to put UK up 27-26. U of L scored just before the buzzer on a Jae'Lyn Withers shot in the lane to take the 28-27 lead at the half.
Kentucky started the second half by turning defense into offense. A steal by Isaiah Jackson started it as he took it away and got it back on the alley-oop. Another Jackson steal led to a Brandon Boston lay-in as he was fouled. Jackson also added a blocked shot before another steal led to a Mintz lay-up. Cats were up 34-30.
Kentucky then went on another one of those long scoring droughts that lasted 8:59 in the second half. Jacob Toppin finally got it going as he hit one in the lane and another on the wing. Despite the long drought, the Wildcats were down only four 47-43.
Mintz would hit a couple of three pointers and Boston would add a couple of free throws and UK was still down just three 57-54 with under four minutes to play. Jackson would miss a shot in the lane and followed it up with a slam to cut the U of L lead to 57-56.
After a Carlik Jones jumper put the Cardinals back in front by three, Boston hit a couple of free throws to cut it to one again. After a couple of stops Jackson hit one of two free throws to tie it at 59.
Kentucky missed a shot with just over 20 seconds remaining and Jackson fouled Dre Davis who hit one of two free throws to give the Cardinals the lead 60-59. Sarr would miss a shot went halfway down before it fell out and UK had to foul with 5 seconds left. Jones hit two free throws before Boston missed his three pointer at the end.
Davion Mintz led the Wildcats with 19 points while Boston had 11 and Toppin added 10. Carlik Jones led the Cardinals with 20.
The Wildcats were set to open up SEC play at home against South Carolina on Tuesday but it was postponed for COVID-19 reasons within the Gamecock program. So, UK plays next Saturday at Mississippi State at 6:00 pm.