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Kentucky Wildcats fall short vs Kansas: 3 things to know, box score and postgame banter

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That was an encouraging learning experience for the young Wildcats.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With a final score of 65-61, the Kentucky Wildcats dropped their first game of the season against the Kansas Jayhawks tonight. Yes, there were many frustrating moments. But there was also a lot to be excited about as Kentucky played a veteran Kansas team down to the wire.

The game was sloppy for both teams with lots of ugly turnovers and a ton of missed shots. However, we did learn a lot about the young Wildcats. Here are three things to know.

Get the hyphens more minutes.

I am still not convinced that he is the answer at point guard, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has to be on the court. He is a difference-maker on both ends of the floor, and the team is better when he is in the game.

I know Nick Richards put up decent numbers against guys my size last week, but for my money Sacha Killeya-Jones has been the more productive center. He had 3 blocked shots and led the team with 9 rebounds against Kansas tonight, his jumpshot has been money, and he deserves more minutes. Don’t @ me.

Way too many turnovers.

And there were several plays that should have been turnovers, but Kentucky got a lucky bounce. For the most part, P.J. Washington and Nick Richards never looked comfortable with the basketball in their hands. And while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander kept Kentucky in the game in the first half with his defense, he has several errant passes that cost Kentucky throughout the game.

Of course, most of this can be attributed to inexperience. I would hope that the team will take better care of the ball as time goes on. But this game was sloppy, and it was on a big stage.

More Kevin Knox, please.

Kevin Knox had a great first half tonight, and Kentucky is going to need that production consistently if they want a chance to be a championship-caliber team. We have seen him score in a variety of ways, but so far this season he seems to settle for threes and long jumpers a little more than he should.

The even better news is that he does more than score. He had several important rebounds during the second half tonight, and defended well even when matched up against Kansas’ smaller guards. He led the Wildcats with 20 points to go with 7 boards and 2 steals. How about a few more touches, though?

Here is the final box score:

Now, let’s talk.