Kentucky basketball suffers 89-75 upset loss to Missouri on the road


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) shoots the ball during the No. 19 Kentucky vs. Missouri mens basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri won 89-75. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

No. 19 Kentucky mens basketball was defeated 89-75 at Missouri on Wednesday, falling to 8-4 on the season.

The loss marked the second loss in three games for Kentucky and saw the Wildcats start SEC play 0-1.

“I’ve got to go back and figure out – some of its personnel,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “We have good players, but some guys aren’t playing great. The 14 turnovers, all of them at critical times, (hurt). We missed free throws again. I don’t want to make it a big issue, but it is when you get the game to where it was and if we had made some free throws (then) it would be a four or five (point game) and (there’s) a little different feel to it.”

Oscar Tshiebwe led Kentucky in the loss, scoring 23 points and grabbing 19 rebounds for a double double.

Point guards Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler both also scored double digit point totals in the loss, with Wallace recording 19 points and Wheeler recording 12 points before fouling out of the game.

Four Wildcats ended the night in foul trouble, with Wheeler having been mentioned to have fouled out of the game, while Wallace finished with four fouls and Tshiebwe and Lance Ware both finished with three.

In contrast, only two Tigers, Ronnie DeGray III (four) and Kobe Brown (three), finished the night in foul trouble, with all 11 Missouri players who saw the court finishing the game.

Kentucky led only once in the game despite being favored heading in, with that being when the score was 3-2 with over 18 minutes left in the first half.

From that point on it was all Missouri with the Tigers leading by as many as 21 points in the winning effort.

Brown finished with 30 points for the Tigers, leading all scorers, while D’Moi Hodge, DeAndre Gholston and Sean East II all also finished with double digit point totals with 15, 12 and 12 respectively.

“(Brown) was difficult for us to stop last year (too),” Calipari said. “Now you’ve gotta space out on him because he can make threes. Missouri would’ve beat a whole lot of teams the way they played tonight. They beat us pretty good.”

As a team Kentucky shot 46% (26-56) from the field, only three percent less than Missouri, who finished shooting 49% (28-57) from the field. The Wildcats also finished 35% (8-23) from beyond the arc and 63% (15-24) from the free throw line.

For comparison, Missouri finished shooting 40% (10-25) from beyond the arc and 82% (23-28) from the free throw line.

“We had, like, five wide open shots and didn’t make ‘em,” Calipari said. “That takes the wind out of your sails. You don’t have to make ‘em all, but how about go 1-5? Or 2-5?”

Kentucky also recorded close to double the number of turnovers as the Tigers with 14, compared to the Tiger’s eight, allowing 14 Missouri points off turnovers.

Both teams finished the game dead even (34-34) in points in the paint, but the Tigers had the clear advantage in points from the bench, outscoring Kentucky 33-13 in the metric.

Two Wildcats, Jacob Toppin and CJ Fredrick, finished the game with zero points, though the latter did only play four minutes before suffering a hand injury. Toppin, on the other hand, played for 13 minutes, four less than freshman Adou Thiero, who saw the court for just the second time since Kentucky beat North Florida in late November.

Overall, Kentucky’s conference opener was one it will likely hope to put behind it as it prepares for a gauntlet of a conference schedule.

In the meantime, the Wildcats’ next game is scheduled for New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) at home against in-state rival Louisville. Tip-off is scheduled for noon EST and will air live on CBS Sports.