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Kentucky Kernel

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At the buzzer: No. 17 Kentucky men’s basketball suffers 89-84 loss against No. 1 Kansas in Champions Classic

Brady Saylor
Kentucky guards Justin Edwards (1) and D.J. Wagner (21) react to a play during the No. 17 Kentucky vs. No. 1 Kansas men’s basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Brady Saylor | Staff

No. 17 Kentucky men’s basketball (2-1) suffered a 89-84 defeat against No. 1 Kansas (3-0) in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday in the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

The Wildcats entered the contest 2-0 after easily defeating New Mexico State and Texas A&M-Commerce in the first week of action.

Kentucky would find itself at a disadvantage with all three bigs, Aaron Bradshaw, Ugonna Onyenso and Zvonimir Ivišić, unable to play, while the Jayhawks boasted former Michigan Wolverine and almost Kentucky Wildcat Hunter Dickinson.

Kentucky kicked things off with a starting lineup that consisted of Chicago native Antonio Reeves, Tre Mitchell, Adou Thiero, Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner.

Unfortunately for the Wildcat faithful, the Cats quickly found themselves in a hole.

Kentucky took the hit and bounced back, however, quickly pulling back into the game and even briefly taking the lead after 10 minutes of play.

The Cats continued to fight, eventually making five-straight 3-pointers courtesy of a red-hot Rob Dillingham and Reeves to lead by six.

The Cats refused to cool down with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by the Jayhawks being all Kansas could do to ensure it didn’t enter the halftime break trailing by double digits.

Kentucky came out of the break strong, out-scoring Kansas through the first five minutes of the second half to extend the lead back to double digits.

The Jayhawks quickly bounced back, however, with a 7-0 run putting the game back within four points with the Wildcats having gone cold.

Things would get worse for the Cats before they could get any better.

Luckily for the Cats, get better things did as Kentucky put together a run of it’s own to power back ahead to a six-point lead with just over five minutes left to play.

The Jayhawks took a further blow when KJ Adams Jr. fouled out of the game with under four minutes remaining. Adams Jr. contributed 16 points for KU.

The Jayhawks battled back, however, proving why they are the No. 1 team in the country and forcing Kentucky to go home with the defeat when the Cats once again fell cold in the dying minutes.

Kentucky will return to action on Friday, Nov. 17, back inside Rupp Arena when it faces off with Division-I sophomore Stonehill. Tipoff against the Skyhawks is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and will air live on the SEC Network+.

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