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Brooks scores 27, No. 12 Kentucky beats No. 5 Kansas

UK goes on the road, comes home with big win

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WTVQ/AP) — Keion Brooks scored 27 points and Oscar Tshiebwe had a double-double as No. 12 Kentucky manhandled No. 5 Kansas 80-62 on Saturday night.

The Wildcats grabbed a big halftime lead in Allen Fieldhouse and cruised to improve to 24-10 all-time in the series. Kansas had won four of the past five coming in. The last Kentucky win in Allen Fieldhouse was in 1985 (click for box score  uk_ku_box_012922).

The win came as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The home team won each game, except in Kentucky’s case, where the Wildcats won big on the rad.

Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn’t interested in discussing history.

“I don’t even know who we played two weeks ago,” he said after the game. “We’ve won a lot of games against ranked teams, all kinds of different ways. I’ve done this a long time and I’ve been in many of these games on the road where it’s (ESPN College) Game Day. I told the team, ‘All the pressure is on the other team. If you play for 40 minutes, watch what happens.'”

Calipari said he’s seen this coming from Brooks.

“It’s how he’s been playing in his last couple of games and in practice,” Calipari said. “It wasn’t just making baskets. He rebounded. He defended. He came from the week side and tipped the ball. He made great plays. He did all the other things, and then he made shots.”

Tshiebwe had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Kentucky (17-4), which also got 12 points from Kellan Grady and 11 from Jacob Toppin.

Kansas coach Bill Self was not surprised by Tshiebwe’s game.

“Oscar’s stats don’t show how good he is at rebounding, and his stats show that he’s the best rebounder in the country,” Self said.

But Tshiebwe was more interested in talking about Brooks, who was not made available after the game.

“I’m so proud of him,” Tshiebwe said. “I want him to keep coming like that every night. We can be a top team if everyone steps up like that. They pay attention too much to me. Now, they forget about him.”

Kansas (17-3) was led by Ochai Agbaji, who had 13 points, 10 in the second half. But the two-time reigning Big 12 Player of the Week was held well below his Big 12-leading 21.3 points per game. Christian Braun also had 13 points.

Kentucky dominated the boards, owning a 41-29 rebounding edge, including 12-7 on the offensive end.

“Their guys got to a level that we couldn’t get to,” Self said. “When you get into a jumping contest with those dudes, we couldn’t compete.”

Self kept searching for combinations that would allow his team to get back in the game, but that search turned up empty. Kansas used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 62-48 early in the second half when Kentucky missed seven straight shots, but the Jayhawks never got any closer.

Kentucky used an 8-0 run early to grab the lead and then held Kansas at bay. Kentucky led by 12 at the 10:29 mark, with their points spread among seven different players. More telling, the Wildcats held a 13-4 advantage on the boards.

The Kentucky lead grew to as many as 20 when Kellan Grady hit a 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the half and the Wildcats led 51-31 at the break, Kansas’ largest halftime deficit of the season. They trailed Kansas State by 16 a week earlier but rallied for a 78-75 win.

Kentucky shot 61.8% (21 of 34) in the first half, while Kansas was just 13 of 33 (39.4%) and Agbaji was held to just three points.


Kentucky: The Wildcats extended their slim lead in all-time NCAA wins to four (2,344-2,340) over Kansas. These are the two winningest programs in college basketball history. Kansas has gained 15 wins in the last two full seasons.

Kansas: A lack of quality big men doomed the Jayhawks. David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot combined for just 9 points and 8 rebounds.


Kentucky returns to SEC play, where their 6-2 record is two games behind Auburn. The Wildcats will host Vanderbilt on Wednesday.

Kansas, which stands at 6-1 in the Big 12, will return to conference play at No. 23 Iowa State on Tuesday.

Final Score: No. 12/13 Kentucky 80, No. 5/5 Kansas 62 

Team Records, Series Notes, Etc.

  • Kentucky is now 17-4 on the season while Kansas is 17-3.
  • The Wildcats lead the series, 24-10.
  • Today’s game marked the last of five consecutive games against teams that had a combined record of 64-13 when the stretch began Jan. 15. UK went 4-1 in those five games.
  • Next for Kentucky: having completed non-conference play, UK has 10 Southeastern Conference games remaining. The Wildcats play host to Vanderbilt on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised on SEC Network.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky’s last win over an Associated Press top-five opponent was vs. No. 1 Michigan State on Nov. 5, 2019, as UK won 69-62 in the Champions Classic in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
  • Kentucky’s last win over an Associated Press top-five opponent in a true road game was Dec. 27, 2014, when the Wildcats won at No. 4 Louisville, 58-50.
    • This was Kentucky’s largest margin of victory (18 points) in school history against a top-five team in a true road game.
  • Kentucky is 5-3 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge and has won four in a row in this event.
    • UK is 2-2 when playing Kansas in the Challenge.
  • Kentucky is 9-11 in games visited by the ESPN College GameDay show.
  • Kentucky limited Kansas to 62 points. UK is 199-9 (95.7%) under Calipari when limiting the opponent to 63 points or less, including 11-0 this season.
  • Kentucky led by as many as 24 points. UK is 302-13 (95.9%) under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points at any time in the contest.
  • UK shot 50.8% from the field tonight, 31 of 61. The Wildcats are 10-1 this season when making at least half their shots and 16-0 when having a better field-goal percentage than the opponent.
  • Kentucky won the rebounding 41-29 and won second-chance points, 17-6.
    • UK is 16-1 this season when outrebounding the opponent, 14 of which have been by double-figure margins.
  • Entering the game as the SEC’s leading team in assist/turnover ratio (+1.40), the Wildcats had 19 assists and only nine turnovers tonight. It is the fourth time in the last seven games that UK has had single-digit miscues.
  • With Keion Brooks Jr.’s 27 points tonight, UK now has four players who have scored at least 25 in a game this season, also Oscar Tshiebwe (three times), Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington.
  • Between Brooks and Jacob Toppin, UK got 38 points and 11 rebounds tonight from the power forward position.

Player Notes

  • Keion Brooks had a career-high 27 points, previous best was 23 last year vs. Tennessee.
    • It is his second 20-point game of the season and 10th double-figure game of the season.
    • He scored 15 straight points for UK at one point in the second half.
    • He made 9 of 10 at the free-throw line, career highs in both categories.
  • Oscar Tshiebwe nearly had an “average” night, as his 17 points and 14 rebounds being very close to his season averages of 16.3 points and 15.2 rebounds.
    • It is his 15th double-double of the season, ranking third in the nation in that category.
    • The nation’s leading rebounder has grabbed double-figure boards in all but two games this season.
    • He also had a career-high four steals. He has had at least three thefts in four of the last five games.
  • Kellan Grady tossed in 12 points, all coming on 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
    • Over the last 12 games he is averaging 14.4 points per game while shooting 3 percent from the field (58 of 120), including 45.7 percent (43 of 94) from 3-point range.
    • It is the ninth time this season he has made at least four 3-pointers in a game.
    • Has made a 3-pointer in 15 straight games, most since Jamal Murray made a 3 in all 36 games of the 2015-16 season.
    • He now has 301 3-pointers in his career.
  • Sahvir Wheeler contributed seven points and the SEC assist leader had eight of those tonight.
    • Since returning from injury, he has averaged 14.4 points over the last five games.
    • It is his ninth game of the season with at least eight assists.
  • Jacob Toppin was superb off the bench with 11 points and three rebounds in only 11 minutes of playing time.
    • He had a perfect shooting night, making all four field goals, including a 3-pointer, and both free throws.
  • Lance Ware also played well off the bench, contributing four points (2 of 2 FG) and four rebounds in 10 minutes.
  • TyTy Washington Jr. returned after a one-game absence, totaling two points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals. 

Coach John Calipari

  • John Calipari is now 356-97 at UK.
  • Calipari has an 801-237 all-time on-court record.
  • UK is 66-41 against Associated Press Top-25 teams under Calipari, including 2-3 this season, with all three losses coming away from home.
  • Calipari is 5-7 vs. Kansas.

In the First Half

  • After missing a game because of an injured ankle, TyTy Washington Jr. returned to the lineup and was joined by Sahvir Wheeler, Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe.
    • That lineup now has a 13-4 record this season.
  • Jacob Toppin was the first Kentucky substitution at the 17:08 mark, 12th time this season he has been first off the bench.
  • Trailing 5-2, Kentucky made an 8-0 run and kept the lead for the remainder of the half.
  • Ahead 17-13, another 8-0 spurt put UK ahead 25-13, coaxing a KU timeout at the 10:26 mark.
  • Extending the lead to 35-20 caused another Kansas timeout with 7:10 remaining.
  • Kentucky led by as many as 20 points at 49-29 and the halftime score of 51-31.
    • This was the UK’s second-largest halftime lead vs. Kansas, largest was 21 points (48-27) on Dec. 11, 1976, when the Wildcats won 90-63.
    • Kentucky’s 51 points in first half is UK’s most in a true road game since Dec. 29, 2016, when the Wildcats led Ole Miss 60-39 on the way to a 99-76 win.
    • This is the first time Kansas has allowed 50 points at home in the first half since 2007.
  • Led by Brooks’ 12 points and four rebounds, along with Tshiebwe’s 11 points and five boards, UK shot 61.4 percent from the field (21 of 34) and won the rebounding 23-12 in the first half.
  • UK is 16-2 this season when leading at intermission. 

In the Second Half

  • Kentucky began the second half with the starting lineup.
  • Tshiebwe opened the second half with a mid-lane jumper, giving UK its then-largest lead at 53-31, matched minutes later at 60-38.
  • With the score 53-36, Brooks scored UK’s next 15 points.
  • Trailing 62-41, Kansas went on a 7-0 run to narrow the gap to 62-48 with 13 minutes remaining.
  • Brooks stopped the spurt with a pair of jumpers, giving him a career-high 25 points, and Kansas never seriously threatened again.
  • Kentucky led by as many as 24 points at 78-54 and 80-56 before Kansas scored the final six points of the game to reach the final tally.
  • Brooks scored 15 of Kentucky’s 29 points in the second half and Tshiebwe’s nine rebounds in the final stanza helped keep the homestanders at bay.
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