Kentucky vs Kansas score takeaways: Jalen Wilson leads Jayhawks rally to hand Wildcats second in a row


Kansas averaged 92 points in their first two games in a 1-1 start before the gravity of what the No.7 Jayhawks are replacing finally seemed to catch them up in a showdown with Kentucky No.1. ° 20 Tuesday evening. The Wildcats held Kansas to just five points in the first 10 minutes, and suddenly it seemed painfully clear just how much the Jayhawks missed last season’s star duo Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike.
But it was then that another star appeared for Kansas. Redshirt first-year forward Jalen Wilson exploded to score 21 of his 23 points in the second half to bring the Jayhawks from a 13-point first-half deficit and a 65-62 win over Kentucky in Indianapolis as part of the Champions Classic.

Wilson’s offensive explosion breathed life into a Kansas team that only hit 30% of their shots as chief executive Marcus Garrett struggled with an illness that seemed to limit his stamina. Ultimately, however, one familiar recipe helped Kansas close the deal: defense. The Jayhawks limited Kentucky to just 3 of 21 shots from a 3-point range as the Wildcats suffered their second straight loss.

Freshman center Isaiah Jackson played for Kentucky with 12 rebounds, eight blocks and seven points. But just like they did in Sunday’s 76-64 loss to Richmond, Kentucky suffered from offensive difficulties down the home stretch.

Wilson du Kansas glasses

Wilson had already become a key Kansas player early in the season after missing all but two games last year due to injury. But the former No.53 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class looked like a budding star against the Wildcats. At 6-foot-8, his combination of physique and athleticism created a mismatch with Kentucky defenders that allowed him to create his own shots and save a struggling Kansas attack.

When Wilson picked up his fourth foul after scoring 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, he verified that Kansas had a 44-42 lead. The Jayhawks didn’t convert a shot from the field for three and a half minutes while Wilson was seated due to his foul issue. He scored the team’s next bucket – a 3-point with 5:29 left to play – which put Kansas back in the lead. When Ochai Agbaji hit a 3-runner for Kansas with 2:45 left, it was the Jayhawks’ first field goal of the half for the Jayhawks by someone other than Wilson.

Kansas still absolutely miss Dotson and Azubuike and have a long way to go offensively. But Wilson gave encouraging hope on Tuesday by putting the team on their backs and showing he could be an overlooked gem in a talent-laden Big 12.

Kentucky can’t shoot

Just two days after missing his 10 3-point attempts in a loss to Richmond, the away Wildcats’ woes continued. Kentucky’s three three-pointers came from their bench, with little-used reserve Dontaie Allen hitting a 3-point pointer in the first half before Creighton transfer Davion Mintz hit a pair of treys in the second half. .

But if the Wildcats are to fight for an SEC or National title, they’ll need to find a better shot, especially from their starting lineup. At first, much of their attack was on Second Chance Points and Rollover Points. But after committing eight turnovers in the first nine minutes, Kansas turned it over three more times for the remainder of the game, which limited Kentucky’s opportunities for quick break points.

In the end, a pair of unnecessary fouls on starting center Olivier Sarr also cost Kentucky. The Wake Forest transfer was the Wildcats’ most effective scorer with a 4-6 night off the floor. But he recorded just 14 minutes after landing a pair of unruly faults in the second half.

Quiet contribution

At first glance, Kentucky’s 22-2 bench mark margin suggests the Jayhawks haven’t gotten anything substantial from their bench. But red-shirted rookie Dajuan Harris provided a major spark for Kansas with five assists and four steals in 25 minutes on the bench. His contributions as a facilitator and defender were especially welcome as Garrett struggled with illness during the game.

Much like Wilson, Harris was a four-star prospect in the 2019 class who did a red shirt last season and fell under the radar entering the 2020-2021 campaign. But if the role played both on Tuesday was any indication, then Kansas have a few stallions from last year’s recruiting class set to make a big impact this season.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here