The Aggies, who entered play undefeated in conference play and 15-2 overall, gave Kentucky all they could handle in front of a sold-out Reed Arena crowd.
Texas A&M led by double-digits in the first half, but the Wildcats did just enough in the second half to pick up a gutsy road win, handing the Aggies their first home loss of the season.
Now, here’s a look at the biggest risers and fallers from win No. 15 for the Cats.
Three-Point Defense: While there were plenty of ugly shots attempted by the Aggies from deep, the Kentucky defense did not give Texas A&M much of a chance to get going from downtown. The Aggies shot just 1-for-22 (4.5%) from three-point range as a mix of stifling Wildcat defense and poor shot selection helped Kentucky hold Texas A&M in check from long range.
Jacob Toppin: Jacob Toppin was brilliant off the bench for Kentucky Wednesday as he grabbed six rebounds, scored nine points by shooting 3-for-6 from the field and hitting 3-for-4 at the charity stripe. Three of his rebounds came on the offensive end while he also blocked a shot, dished a pair of assists and picked up a steal. With Daimion Collins still developing and Lance Ware not finding consistent playing time, Toppin continues to be the Cats’ top big-man off the bench.
Confidence: Road wins have been hard to come by for Kentucky this season. They’ve suffered losses at Notre Dame and LSU while also dropping a neutral court game to Duke. Their lone true road win before their win in College Station was a victory over a mediocre Vanderbilt squad in front of no students. So to get a come-from-behind win in a hostile environment should serve as a big vote of confidence heading into Auburn Arena Saturday when they visit the No. 2 ranked Auburn Tigers.
The Offense: Wednesday was not a pretty showing for a UK offense that entered play sixth in the nation averaging 84 points per game. The Wildcats turned the ball over 17 times, shot just 21-for-58 (36.2%) from the field, 4-for-18 (22.2%) from three and 18-for-26 (69.2%) from the free-throw line. They had trouble protecting the ball from the traps Buzz Williams’ Aggies set and in the first half, scored just 30 points. Kentucky’s 64 total points were their lowest total since their 66-62 loss to Notre Dame. While it may have just been an off night, performances like this cannot become a trend for Kentucky if they want to make a March run.
Kellan Grady: The top three-point shooter in the SEC did not have his best night in College Station. Kellan Grady shot a woeful 1-for-9 from downtown and shot just 2-for-10 from the floor to finish the night with five points. He also turned the ball over once and grabbed just two rebounds and appeared to be limping at times which led to him being taken out of the game at one point in a rare off night. Kentucky very likely isn’t winning at Auburn without Grady at his best, or at least much better than what we saw in College Station.
Sahvir Wheeler: For Sahvir Wheeler, the three-point shooter, Wednesday night’s game wasn’t at all bad, as he knocked down both of his three-point attempts and shot 5-for-8 from the floor to finish with 12 points. However, as a point guard, it wasn’t pretty for Wheeler at Reed Arena. He turned the ball over eight times, could not escape any of the traps set by A&M, and made some awful decisions passing the ball in a terrible night running the floor for Kentucky in a game TyTy Washington ran into early foul trouble and had his playing time limited.