Cats fail to come back and lose first-ever game to Missouri


Kentucky head coach John Calipari argues with a referee during the first half of the game against Mississippi State on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 78-65. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Saturday afternoon, the UK basketball team took their sixth loss of the season as they fell on the road to the Missouri Tigers, 60-69. This is UK’s first loss all-time to the Tigers, as they’re now 10-1 against the team, and 6-1 since they entered the SEC.

The Tigers’ Jordan Barnett had a career day against the Cats, scoring 16 points on seven shot attempts, as well as pulling down six rebounds.

From the beginning of the game, the Cats struggled offensively. They made their first three shots, but then only made three of their next 27 attempts from the field. This resulted in the lowest-scoring half in the John Calipari era for UK.

The Tigers weren’t shooting extremely hot either, only hitting 39.1 percent of their first half shots, as well as 16.7 percent of their attempts from deep. At the half, the Tigers led by 10, 28-18.

At the beginning of the second half, guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tried to spark a run for the Cats, scoring eight of UK’s first 12 points in the half. He’d finish with 15 points, but took 16 shots to do so. Gilgeous-Alexander was the only double-digit scorer for the Cats, as no one else on the team had more than eight points.

Forward Kevin Knox struggled mightily from the floor, scoring only five points on six shots. He was booed by the crowd every time he touched the ball or was checked into the game, which may have contributed to his quiet performance after scoring 34 points only two games ago.

In the second half, Missouri caught fire from the three-point line, scoring 15 of their 41 second-half points from deep on 45.5 percent shooting. The Cats shot a modest 40.5 percent from the field in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Missouri lead that had been built up in the first half.

The Cats, in contrast, struggled from deep, only shooting 2-20, or 10 percent, from deep. Both threes were made late in the second half, when their nation-leading streak of 1,035 consecutive games with a made three was in jeopardy of ending.

UK is now 17-6 on the season and 6-4 in conference play as they fail to come back from their third straight double-digit deficit. In the last two games, the Cats came back from deficits of at least 14 points to win against West Virginia and Vanderbilt.

Next, UK will take on Tennessee at home on Tuesday, where they’ll look to avenge their 65-76 loss to the Volunteers earlier in the season.