KANSAS CITY, Mo. – P.J. Washington returned to the line-up for Kentucky as the Wildcats met Houston in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever and UK would lead at the half 37-26.
The Cougars scored first on an Armoni Brooks three pointer but that only started some early back and forth scoring. Kentucky grabbed a 6-5 lead as Ashton Hagans found Reid Travis for a slam.
UK went to the first media timeout down 7-6. That’s when P.J. Washington checked in and immediately helped the Wildcats. The first time he touched the ball he hit a hook shot on the baseline to put UK back in front 8-7. He then drew a double team and found Immanuel Quickley for a three pointer. Washington also had a slam and caused a turnover on the Cougars end.
Houston would get within three of the Wildcats when UK rattled off seven straight. P.J. hit two free throws, then Keldon Johnson drained a three pointer and Tyler Herro made a floater in the lane as UK would build a 30-20 lead and cause Houston to call timeout.
After Houston got close again, UK ballooned the lead back to double digits. UK scrambled for a loose ball on their end of the floor and Quickley hit another three pointer. Then, E.J. Montgomery got a rebound and putback to give UK a 37-26 lead at the half.
Washington and Herro led UK in scoring with 8 each. P.J. hit all three of his shots from the field and both free throws while all in 9 minutes of play.