Every fan of the Kansas Jayhawks had the date January 30 marked on their calendars this year in anticipation for a revenge game against the Kentucky Wildcats, and they were not disappointed. In this Big 12/SEC Challenge, the battle between college’s two winningest programs had 12 ties and 18 lead changes. Fouls were the name of the game for the Wildcats. They gave Kansas 47 chances at the charity stripe, which Kansas converted 30 of them. Perry Ellis made a free throw in the last 9 seconds of the game to tie it up, and once the game headed into OT, Kansas took over the game. The first field goal of OT for the Jayhawks was a thunderous dunk by Wayne Selden Jr., which was the only field goal by the Jayhawks. After the dunk however, Kentucky’s defense became scattered and fouled the Jayhawks 7 times in the final minutes of OT.
The X-factor in this game was the crowd. Allen Fieldhouse is known for being one of the greatest atmospheres in college basketball, but this game was unlike any other game this season. The crowd put a pressure on this young Kentucky team and with every 3-point shot made or defensive stop Kansas forced, it only made the crowd grow louder. The frustrations and lack of poise of the Kentucky team showed up in the waning minutes of this game when 3 of their bigs fouled out of the game, Derek Willis, Marcus Lee, and Skal Labissiere.
Kansas may have only shot 46.4% from the field compared to Kentucky’s 53.2%, but they were capable of holding Kentucky to 21.7% from the 3-point line while they shot 47.1%. All but one of Kansas’ starters scored in double digits while their bench outscored Kentucky’s bench 20-12.
Wayne Selden Jr. earned the rights to be star of the game after his 33-point show out. He shot 12 of 12 from the field and made 3 3-point baskets. He started the game out blazing hot with 4 consecutive baskets and his dunk on Skal Labissiere in the first couple minutes of OT put a period on the game.
Although he won the game, Perry Ellis earns the rights for dud of the game. He only made 1 basket and went 8 for 13 from the charity stripe. He had only 1 assist compared to 2 turnovers. In total he scored 10 points, but played subpar for being considered the best player on the team.
The stat of the night was 33 personal fouls. Kansas had more free throws made than field goal attempts (30 to 26). Kentucky shot better from the field, but gave up way too many points at the charity stripe. If it were not for the fouls, Kansas would have most likely lost this game.
The next game Kansas Jayhawks will play will be against the Kansas State Wildcats at 8 PM on Wednesday Feb. 2 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Cain Lever ’19