No. 12 Kentucky dominates No. 5 Kansas 80-62 at Allen Fieldhouse


Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (12) high fives a fan as he walks off the court after the UK vs. Kansas basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. UK won 80-62. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hunter Shelton

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Behind a career-high 27 pointfrom Keion Brooks Jr, No. 12 Kentucky (17-4) battered No. 5 Kansas (17-3) 80-62 inside Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night in Lawrence.  

Brooks paced the Wildcats with a 9-16 shooting night, handing the Jayhawks just their 14th home loss since Bill Self took over as KU head coach in 2003. 

“I just felt good tonight,” Brooks said after the win.  

UK head coach John Calipari commended Brooks’ lights-out performance, citing his effort as the proprietor of Kentucky’ win, not the 27 points.  

“He rebounded, he played tough,” Calipari said. “The other plays he made were just effort plays. It’s all about that energy, that spirit, that competitiveness, that fight.” 

The 18-point win for Kentucky is the largest margin of victory in school history against a top-five team in a true road game.  

Kentucky had missed multiple opportunities to earn marquee wins on the road this season, dropping close contests to both LSU and Auburn. The Wildcats would not let another opportunity slide, throttling KU from tip-off to the final buzzer.  

The lead would grow as large as 24 points, with UK shooting 50.8 percent as a team.  

KU’s lone lead of the game would come at the 18:20 mark in the first half at 5-4.  

While the offensive showcase was impressive on its own, Kentucky would equal its output on the defensive side, holding Kansas, a top-five rated offense to just 62 points, tied for its lowest scoring performance of the season.  

“If you play for 40 minutes, you watch what happens,” Calipari said.  

It wasn’t apparent until close to tip-off that Kentucky would challenge the Jayhawks at full strength, as the status of both TyTy Washington Jr and Jacob Toppin were uncertain due to injuries. Both would play at full strength.  

Washington would not turn in his best performance in the scoring column despite maintaining his spot in the starting lineup, shooting 1-9 from the floor, nabbing just two points. The freshman would add five assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes on the court.  

TyTy did not shoot the ball well, but he hadn’t even practiced, so he’ll be fine,” Calipari said. 

Luckily for Kentucky, a top-notch performance from Washington wasn’t necessary to execute the biggest victory of the season for the now 17-4 Wildcats. 

Over the course of two halves, Kentucky turned Allen Fieldhouse from one of the more feared home court advantages in college basketball, to a home away from home for Big Blue Nation. 

Chants of “Go Big Blue” rang throughout the gym, growing louder after each timeout, much like the Kentucky lead.  

Oscar Tshiebwe would once again wreak havoc in the paint, totaling 17 points and 14 rebounds against KU in his first game since recording the first 20-point, 20rebound stat line for Kentucky since 1976.  

“[Tshiebwe] is a much better rebounder than what stats show, and the stats show he is the best rebounder, hands down, in the country,” KU head coach Bill Self said.  

Kansas was a familiar foe for Tshiebwe, as the West Virginia transfer had taken on the Jayhawks three times during his time as a Mountaineer. In those three games, Tshiebwe averaged 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, numbers he would soar past on Saturday.  

“We were hungry and just wanted to go out and show what we can do,” Tshiebwe said. “Our team is a scary team.”  

Just four days removed from bailing out UK in overtime against Mississippi State, Kellan Grady poured in 12 points, all of which came from behind the 3-point line.  

Though he’s known for his shooting, Grady played a significant role in stifling Kansas’ leading scorer Ochai Agbaji for most of the game.  

While Agbaji would finish with 13 points, the Wildcats held the senior guard to 4-14 shooting. Agbaji came into Saturday’s contest following a career-high 37-point night against Texas Tech, a performance that he wouldn’t be able to provide an encore for against UK.  

“It was a team effort,” Calipari said about defending Agbaji. “they’re playing the dribble drive and doing it with four guys on the perimeter kind of like we do. And you have to switch some, and we switched off on [Agbaji] and that guy guarded him too.”  

Sahvir Wheeler showed no signs of any lingering injuries, dishing out eight assists to go along with seven points. KU as a team would account for just four more assists than Wheeler.  

Six different Wildcats would record two or more made shots against KU. While Brooks led the way, he and his teammates know that anyone on the team is capable of a breakout night. 

Tonight was my night, but other nights are going to be somebody else’s night. Just feed the hot hand and go game by game,” Brooks said. 

The lopsided victory ends Kentucky’s non-conference schedule, seeing the Cats finish with an 11-2 record.  

Just 10 SEC games remain in the Cats’ regular season schedule before the beginning of the SEC Tournament on March 9.  

Up next, Kentucky will return home to welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores to Rupp Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. EST. UK previously defeated the ‘Dores 78-66 in Nashville on Jan. 11.