Kansas University’s basketball team blasted Kentucky, 150-95, on Dec. 9, 1989, in Allen Fieldhouse, handing UK its second-worst loss in school history — worst since an 87-17 setback to Pella, Iowa, in 1910.
In a somewhat delayed counter punch, the Wildcats slugged KU, 72-40, in November of 2014 at the Champion’s Classic in Indianapolis — the fourth-worst loss in Jayhawk history and worst in the Bill Self era.
The 32-point drubbing happened so recently, it might give the Jayhawks extra incentive for today’s 6 p.m. KU-UK battle in Allen.
“I think it’s just natural it’s in the back of everybody’s mind. We all remember it. Those of us that were here last year. There’s not a ton that needs to be said,” said KU junior forward Landen Lucas.
“It was terrible,” Lucas added of the locker-room atmosphere following that drubbing. “That was by far the worst loss I’ve been a part of here at Kansas. That rarely happens. It’s something it sucks, but it’s awesome we get to play them this year. It’s not like that was a one-time deal. We get to play them again. I know it’s not the same team. It’s still Kentucky.”
The No. 20-ranked Wildcats (16-4) hold a commanding 22-6 lead over No. 4-ranked KU in the all-time series, with UK winning the last three under the direction of coach John Calipari. Overall, the two schools enter the Big 12/SEC Challenge as the winningest programs of all time: Kentucky has 2,194 wins, KU 2,169.
“Last year’s game was an anomaly. We had a great team. It’s not going to be like that. You’ve got to throw that out of there,” said UK senior Alex Poythress. “We know some of their personnel from playing last year. Coach does a great job of scouting. We are going into the game with a pretty good idea of what they do.”
Of KU’s possible revenge motive, Calipari said: “Bill is not going to make it anything personal because he knows if he does, your team can’t win the game when it becomes a personal thing, but he will remind them that a different Kentucky team got them pretty good last year. I’m not worried about last year’s game. That’s totally different.”
Kentucky blocked 11 shots in that contest.
“I don’t know if we ever got a shot up, it seems like to me,” Self said. “We drove it, and we just couldn’t score over those guys, and the one thing that we did poorly last year against them obviously was, we didn’t drive to pass. We’d drive to score, and you’re much easier to guard when you play that way. We’ve got to do a better job there.”
“They don’t have (Willie) Cauley-Stein and Anthony Towns and (Trey) Lyles and some of those guys, but they do have some of the same cast of players, obviously, with (6-8) Poythress and Lee (Marcus, 6-9), and Skal (Labissiere, 6-11) is obviously making an impact. They’re a good shot-blocking team, and they’re a terrific offensive-rebounding team,” Self added.
Lucas said the Jayhawks wouldn’t be overly stressed about the potential of another shot-block fest for UK.
“We talked about it. We don’t want anybody in the back of their head to think of last year and think it’s the same team,” Lucas said. “They lost a lot of their shot-blockers. They still have a lot of bigs who can block shots. It’s not quite the length they had. We’re going to go back and go right back at them. There’s some things we got to adjust to. We’re not thinking of last year’s game when it comes to that.”
This, that: KU senior forward Hunter Mickelson (high-ankle sprain) did not practice Friday and is not expected to play today. He was wearing a boot Friday. ... UK freshman point guard Jamal Murray averages a team-leading 17.5 ppg. He has made an average of 2.7 threes a game. Soph guard Tyler Ulis averages 15.5 points and 6.1 assists a game. Frosh guard Isaiah Briscoe averages 10.2 ppg and 6.3 rebounds. Poythress averages 6.6 rpg ... ESPN College GameDay will host its popular TV show at Allen from 10 to 11 a.m. today. Doors open at 6:30 a.m. The event is free. ... KU grad David Booth will formally present Naismith’s original rules of basketball to KU officials in a halftime ceremony. ... A high resolution 360-degree photo will be taken immediately following the alma mater and Rock Chalk Chant at the 12-minute mark on the pregame clock. The image will be over 26 billion pixels in size. Fans, who will be given extra-large crimson, blue or white T-shirts upon arrival to their seats, must wear their designated colors to ensure they are in the photo.
Rout recalled: KU led 80-61 at halftime during that 150-95 win in 1989. “Worst butt-kicking ever,” UK’s Deron Feldhaus told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “If I remember correctly, it was a pretty entertaining halftime. I think (coach Rick Pitino) kicked out all the coaches and managers. Water coolers were turned over.”
When asked what made Pitino so mad, Feldhaus told the Herald-Leader, “I have no idea.”