Yes, it stung, especially since it felt like a game Kentucky could have very well won if not for that second-half scoring drought.
Still, it was great seeing the Cats back in action and giving a top-10 Duke team everything they could handle.
If you’re looking for something else to help cheer you up, our friend Daniel Hager has a new video on YouTube, which highlights the best performances by various Wildcats in past Champions Classics.
Personally, my favorite was Julius Randle vs. Michigan State in 2013 (27 points and 13 rebounds). The game ended in defeat for the Cats, but Randle’s performance gave us a taste of what was to come, as he would eventually help carry Kentucky to the national title game that season.
Oh, and of course, the 72-40 beatdown of Kansas in 2014 is always great viewing material.
It also got me thinking, who’s had the best individual performance in the Champions Classic?
Randle in 2013 is certainly up there. In fact, you could argue the best performances have come vs. Michigan State.
In 2016, Malik Monk dropped 23 points while hitting 7/11 triples to go with six boards.
Then in 2018, Tyrese Maxey went for 26 points in his regular-season debut, including that dagger three-ball to ice the game in the final minute.
Alex Poythress going for 20 points and eight boards vs. Duke in 2012 has to be mentioned as well.
Don’t forget about Tyler Ulis racking up 18 points, four boards, two steals, a block, and six assists vs. no turnovers in 40(!) minutes in a double-digit win over Duke in 2015.
And of course, Oscar Tshiebwe had his monster game last night with 17 points, two blocks and 19 boards, 12 of which were on the offensive glass.
Which Wildcat has had the best Champions Classic performance?
This poll is closed
Alex Poythress in 2012
Julius Randle in 2013
Tyler Ulis in 2015
Malik Monk in 2016
Tyrese Maxey in 2018
Oscar Tshiebwe in 2021