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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Marquee victory: Jayhawks knock off Kentucky at Rupp Arena

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) gets past Kentucky forward Isaac Humphries (15) for a bucket during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) gets past Kentucky forward Isaac Humphries (15) for a bucket during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Two of college basketball’s marquee programs gave a national audience a show worthy of the hype Saturday night at Rupp Arena, where a short-handed yet invigorated Kansas team recovered from its first-half issues to win 79-73 at Kentucky.

The usual Jayhawks carried No. 2 KU, which avoided the program’s first back-to-back losses since 2013. Senior point guard Frank Mason III scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, freshman Josh Jackson gave his team a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, junior guard Devonte’ Graham chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds and senior center Landen Lucas went 6-for-6 from the floor, with 13 points and five rebounds before fouling out.

Despite a slow start offensively, KU (19-2) shot 50 percent from the floor versus the Wildcats (17-4), who had five players in double figures, led by 18 points apiece from Malik Monk and Derek Willis.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: Kansas strung together an outburst of layups late in the second half in the midst of a Kentucky scoring drought.

Jackson set off the game-saving stretch by posting up inside, and tipping in his own miss. The next trip down the floor, Mason got his first 3-pointer of the evening to drop. Kansas scored again without a Wildcats answer with Mason dishing to Lucas for a layup. Graham ran the floor with Mason to put back a miss, and after Jackson drove to set up a Lucas bucket in the paint, KU had turned a one-point deficit with 8:13 left into a 10-point lead with 4:41 on the second-half clock.

The undermanned Jayhawks trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, when they failed to connect on any of their eight 3-point attempts and were out-rebounded 21-15. But KU only trailed 32-27 at intermission thanks to a strong close to the first half and 10 points off Kentucky’s 10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Though it seemed borderline unfeasible when KU struggled offensively much oft the first half, the visitors actually took a lead shortly after halftime, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Jackson. Those big baskets gave the Jayhawks a shot of confidence in a challenging venue, and Graham, Lucas and Mason soon followed with pivotal buckets of their own in a tight game between two of the nation’s foremost teams.

Kentucky, of course, didn’t go away quietly in the final minutes, but Jackson’s hot second-half start and KU’s ensuing resurgence allowed the Jayhawks to close a tumultuous week with a signature road victory.

• Offensive highlight: Thrown into the rotation with sophomore big Carlton Bragg out due to a suspension, backup junior forward Dwight Coleby triggered one of the better sequences of the first half for Kansas with some active hands in the middle of KU’s 2-3 zone.

The 6-foot-9 Coleby poked the ball away inside when freshman guard De’Aaron Fox played loosely with it. In a matter of seconds, the Jayhawks were scoring — a rarity for KU in the first half of the blue-blood showdown.

Sixth man Lagerald Vick soon after had the ball in his hands and gave it up to Graham near mid-court before making a mad dash for the rim. The give-and-go worked flawlessly, as Graham lofted a pass toward the hoop and Vick flushed home a two-handed alley-oop, cutting the Kentucky lead to 31-27, the slimmest margin in more than 12 minutes.

• Defensive highlight: Active on both ends of the floor, KU freshman sensation Jackson propelled himself toward a huge night with timely defense.

Out of a timeout, with the Kansas offense in a first-half funk, Jackson swooped through a passing lane on defense to give his team a simple basket.

The 6-8 freshman took off with Fox’s pass for a breakaway jam and a couple of KU’s eight fast-break points in the first half, which cut Kentucky’s cushion to 25-17.

• Key stat: Points off turnovers. Kentucky not only gave away the ball too often on its home floor, the Wildcats often did so in circumstances that directly led to points for Kansas. While UK only scored seven points off the Jayhawks’ 12 giveaways, KU cashed in 21 points via Wildcats miscues.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse after two games on the road versus top-25 teams. But KU will face another highly-ranked opponent, No. 5 Baylor on Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPN 2).

By the Numbers: Kansas 79, Kentucky 73

By the Numbers: Kansas 79, Kentucky 73

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kentucky


Comments

Barry Weiss 3 months ago

wow! just wow! ok, I have not seen the box score and missed the first half, but I got to say...game ball on this one to Coach Self! The defensive sets he was calling out in the second half were awesome! We are very lucky to have that man as our head coach! Ok, out to drinks some brews by the fire pit. Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU!

Sae Thirtysix 3 months ago

Beating Duke + Beating Kentucky = Great Year (more still to come)

Bryce Landon 3 months ago

I admit it, I don't give Bill Self enough credit. As Kansas coach, he is now 2-0 against Kentucky in Rupp Arena (the first win coming against Tubby Smith's Wildcats in 2005). He has now done twice what no previous KU coach was ever able to do once. Gotta love him going to the 2-3 zone; it disrupted UK's offense at critical times and created turnovers that we converted into points!

Craig Alexander 3 months ago

If nothing else the depleted lineup made Self change things up. Great game Hawks!

Bryce Landon 3 months ago

I want to see more zone from KU going forward. It worked against UGA and now UK.

Shannon Gustafson 3 months ago

I didn't really think that would happen, especially with the Bragg situation, and the way fouls are called this year, and the way we started the game. It was starting to look like a 20-30pt blowout was coming and then all the sudden the light bulbs came on and they got it going. Huge that Josh nailed those two 3's to knock the seal off the basket to start the second half. He showed up big tonight, as did Mason and Lucas. Even Coleby fouling Bam all the time was good because he couldn't make a free throw!

Kent Kossoy 3 months ago

This will rank up there with the Mizzou comeback. Expected a loss. Hoped it would be close so ranking would not suffer. And got this. Wow. One of the best wins in 46 years!! Take that Kyle Macy!!

3 months ago

Really impressive win tonight, the guys seemed to be a very tight knit bunch. Kudos to Coach Self for defensive sets and timely subs. RCJH

Mallory Briggans 3 months ago

leadership.......leadership ........leadership.......poise .......poise........poise..........coaching .......coaching..........and more coaching..........Given the atmosphere on Kentuckys home court along with Micheal Buffer giving the player introductionss.......this team wasnt intimidated in the least bit.......KU took a standing 8 count early but gathered themselves to deliver a knockout which few saw coming .....but we cant read the headlines because we got Baylor comes to town so they must stay focused .....great win ....great win

Mallory Briggans 3 months ago

in a side note.....Trae Youngs dad announced that chances are slim that he will commit to OU....which may have him fall in our lap......Many penciled in Duke and Kentucky in the National Championship.........we just beat both this season.....not bad ....not bad at all.....

Suzi Marshall 3 months ago

Some of the reasons I love this year’s team so much is their elite talent, BBall IQ, and experience is matched by their desire to win. Knowing we are short on debt, it’s like this team has morphed into the BBall equivalent of Keagan’s man, Mohammed Ali. Those guys just pulled off a ‘rope-a-dope’ not seen since Ali-Foreman. Think about it, we went to WVa and lost…and as the game got late it’s like they let WVa roll up the score to make the defeat appear much worst than it was. We lose Bragg just prior to heading down to Lexington. Then we play the first half missing everything and only scoring 29 points, giving UK a greater since of over confidence. However, we were able to go in at half with nobody in real foul trouble and only down single digits. Like Ali in the late rounds against Foreman, the Hawks came off the ropes and commenced landing haymakers on the ‘Cats…leading to dropping 52 second half points!!!

Rock Chalk all the way. These guys are tons of fun to watch.

Jerry Walker 3 months ago

After pounding away for round after round with Ali whispering in his ear during the clinches, "C'mon big boy, is that all you got?" Foreman finally admitted to himself, "Yep, that's about it"...and soon thereafter Ali chopped down the mighty oak.

That's one of the greatest storylines in sports history.

Jerry Walker 3 months ago

Well coached and displayed a tub of guts.....Way to go boys!!

Doug Clark 3 months ago

I didn't think we would win after the poor defense at West Virginia but l have to admit these guys showed some toughness that I didn't think they had. I love it anytime we can beat Calipari, now let's focus on Baylor and keep showing the toughness and finish the conference strong and get #13. Great job tonight Jayhawks.

Kerby Rice 3 months ago

Carlton Bragg has literally had KU fans saying WTF since the day he committed here to KU and accidentally said Kentucky on live television.

Mallory Briggans 3 months ago

NEVER EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE HEART OF A CHAMPION!!!......

Mike Tackett 3 months ago

Well done Hawks! I think you proved most of us wrong. Lots of heart and grit. Congrats!

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

The second offensive highlight was Graham's put-back of Mason's fast-break miss. Tons of hustle and a very hard shot to make. Huge when it happened.

Mike Greer 3 months ago

What's for dinner tonight Jayhawk fans . . . I would guess crow at many households. The guys took the game seriously and after a rough start played the way you like to see a champion play. Aggressive, 9 steels; intelligent, didn't force many shots and slowed the game to minimize Kentucky opportunities; with a lot of heart, after a dry spell didn't give up and played perhaps their best ball of the season.

Gerry Butler 3 months ago

Awsome win. - -I for one very happily ready to eat that crow, I have no problem at all, just ask maybe if I can deep fry it maybe a little better lol. But if I were to ask , How many people HONESTLY and I mean HONESTLY how many people would say before the game last night thought we would win this game? - Or was your thought like many others and just hoping we could keep it close? - -Remember I said HONEST

You know I think where it also helped us is, where it helped is that we have had our share of close games this year - - -Iowa St @ Iowa St - - - - by 4 - - K-State here - - by 2- - TCU @ TCU - -by 6 - - Duke - - - by 2 - - these kind of games made us tougher, at least mentalty- -t never doubt, never panic mode - -we as fans may panic but the team? - -maybe not. I think these kinds of games help us get through games like last night. - -Falling behind early - - hostile environment - player against a really good team.

These things PLUS having that experience Frank, Devonte, Landen sure doesn't hurt in games such as this Great Win

Harlan Hobbs 3 months ago

Keep em coming, Barry and others. Dittos all around!

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