The Cats fought valiantly after trailing by double digits on multiple occasions in the second half, and they even rallied to take a lead late.
But the veteran Cats from K-State proved to be too much in this one, and they came away victorious and handed UK a gut-wrenching 61-58 loss.
How did UK stay in the game in the first half?
UK’s first half was horrendous. The Wildcats had more turnovers than field goals made and tallied 10 fouls. It seemed like the whole team was in foul trouble. And to make matters worse, Hamidou Diallo left the game for a good portion of the half with a rolled ankle and didn’t score at all in the half. Speaking of struggles, Kevin Knox had only two points at the half. Yet somehow, with the help of a 9-0 run at one point in the half, Kentucky was within one and ended up down just four points at halftime.
Foul trouble runs rampant on both sides
Speaking of foul trouble in the first half...it only got worse in the second. With more than 14 minutes left in the game, Kentucky had Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel and Kevin Knox dealing with three fouls. Gabriel then picked up his fourth with 10:51 remaining. PJ Washington then picked up his third foul with 8:24 left. Diallo then picked up his fourth with 1:31 remaining.
KSU had a plethora of foul trouble as well. With just under seven minutes left in the game, they had three players with four fouls and three with three fouls each. Levi Stockard III fouled out with about five minutes left. Makol Mowien also fouled out, and the third KSU player to foul out was Xavier Sneed, who had a game high 22 points.
These foul troubles made KSU’s biggest problem even worse, as star player Dean Wade did not play at all in the second half and other top players were dealing with foul trouble.
There was a total of 51 fouls called between both teams.
PJ Washington’s double-double
Washington came up huge with a double-double. And while his free throw struggles made UK’s comeback pretty much impossible. His determination to stay physical down low and get to the line was still important to the Wildcats’ ability to swing the momentum and stay in the game late. That was evidenced by his and-one layup wth 1:32 to play that gave Kentucky the lead. But he still missed 12 free throws, and at the end of the day that was one of the major factors for the loss.
What a team this turned out to be. It didn’t end how we all had hoped, but this team still became something that the Big Blue Nation should be proud of.