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At the buzzer: No. 17 Kentucky suffers third straight home loss against Gonzaga

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky forward Ugonna Onyenso (33) goes for a rebound during the No. 17 Kentucky vs. Gonzaga men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 89-85. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

No. 17 Kentucky men’s basketball suffered its third consecutive home loss against Gonzaga on Saturday, falling 89-85 inside Rupp Arena.

The result marked the first time in history a Kentucky team has lost three straight inside the venue.

The Wildcats entered the game following a much-needed bounce back win on the road against Vanderbilt after dropping two straight at home.

Looking to continue their winning ways, the Cats brought out a lineup of Justin Edwards, Antonio Reeves, Adou Thiero, Reed Sheppard and Ugonna Onyenso. The Cats were once again forced to play without usual starter Tre Mitchell, who’s back kept him out, but fans were treated to the news that, for the first time in three games, D.J. Wagner would be eligible to play for UK.

Kentucky would get behind early with the Zags scoring with ease, but fans were finally treated to the return of Wagner, who checked into the game shortly into the first half.

While the Cats would have their plays, they continued to overcome the initial deficit in a showing that closely resembled what had happened against Tennessee.

In fact, it was over 12 minutes into the game when Zvonimir Ivišić finally hit a Kentucky 3-pointer, the first of the night for the home team, to get back within five.

The Wildcats refused to roll over, however, fighting to get within two points of taking the lead with a missed 3-pointer by Wagner being the only thing that stopped home fans from seeing a UK lead.

Unfortunately for the home fans, disaster would strike after as the Cats would go ice cold from the floor and allow the Zags their largest lead of the night up to that point with halftime approaching.

Coming out of the break Kentucky rallied, out-scoring the Bulldogs 10-4 and forcing Zags head coach Mark Few to call a timeout. Edwards and Sheppard each scored five before the timeout was called.

While the Zags threatened to extend the lead once again, Kentucky erupted for a 7-0 scoring run to take the lead for the first time since the opening seconds of the game.

Kentucky extended the lead up to six points, but by the next timeout it stood at three with Sheppard and Thiero becoming the first Cats to break double digit point totals.

The lead would not remain, however, as, despite Reeves joining the double-digit scoring club, Gonzaga was able to regain the advantage with a 3-pointer.

UK continued fighting, retying the game at 75 before the Zags once again claimed the lead.

While the Cats continued to fight offensively the inability to get a stop on defense ultimately sunk John Calipari and Kentucky.

Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 13, inside Rupp Arena against the Ole Miss Rebels. Tip-off against Mississippi is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN.

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About the Contributors
Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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