No. 2 Kentucky Topples No. 11 Kansas, 75-65
Nov. 16, 2011
NEW YORK – In the highly anticipated Champions Classic matchup, the No. 11 Kansas Jayhawks fell to the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats, 75-65, in front of 19,979 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. The loss drops Kansas to 1-1 on the season, while Kentucky moves to 2-0 overall.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor was the Jayhawks’ leading scorer on the night, notching 18 of his 22 points in the second half and hitting a career-high 15-of-17 free throws. Junior forward Thomas Robinson led the KU rebounding efforts, notching the seventh double-double of his career, pulling down 12 rebounds and scoring 11 points.
The Jayhawks shot just 33.9 percent from the field, including a 26.7 percent mark from behind the three-point line. The Jayhawks also had a difficult time contending with Kentucky’s six second-half three pointers. The Wildcats would end the night shooting 51 percent from the field.
Both teams proved to be sloppy with the basketball with Kansas turning the ball over 14 times to Kentucky’s 19. Junior guard Travis Releford led KU with three steals while Taylor and junior guard Elijah Johnson each grabbed two steals.
The first half saw the Jayhawks and Wildcats trading blows, each team going on runs to keep the score tight. Kansas jumped out to a quick 9-3 lead within the first four minutes before Kentucky countered with an 8-1 run of their own at the 11:36 mark. KU would once again extend its lead only to see Kentucky end the half with a run to knot up the score at 28as the teams headed into the intermission.
The KU defense was suffocating in the opening frame, with the Jayhawks forcing 12 Kentucky turnovers and collecting five steals. Junior Jeff Withey also helped key the KU defense in the first half, blocking three shots. The San Diego native finished with seven points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Kentucky stormed out of the halftime locker room, going on a 17-5 run within the first six minutes of the second frame to take over the lead. The Wildcats shot a scorching 64 percent from the field in the last 20 minutes and outscored the Jayhawks 47-37 after the intermission to put the game away for good.
The Jayhawks’ next action will be in the quarterfinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational at Maui’s Lahaina Civic Center. Kansas will face the Georgetown Hoyas at 11 p.m. (CST) on Monday, Nov. 21 and will be televised on ESPN2.