Kansas finally knocked off Kentucky in the Champions Classic Tuesday night in Chicago, taking a 65-61 victory from the Wildcats. KU moves to 1-2 vs Kentucky in the Classic and 3-4 overall.
Kansas opened up an early 20-9 advantage in the first half, but Kentucky would come storming back to tie the game up at 28-all with 6:21 left before halftime. KU would eventually take a 34-33 lead into the break.
The teams would exchange baskets basically the rest of the way. The largest lead by either team in the second half was Kansas by 6 with 9:16 to go, which lasted all of 68 seconds. With the game tied at 57 with 2:53 left, Kansas made 5 of its final 6 free throws plus a big three-pointer from Malik Newman to ice the game and come away with the win.
Kentucky’s Kevin Knox led all scorers with 20 points on 8-13 shooting, including 3-6 from deep. Svi Mykhailiuk led Kansas with 17 points on 7-18 shooting, but just 3-10 from behind the arc.
Devonte Graham struggled in this one, hitting just 3-14 shots, 1-6 from deep, and turning the ball over 5 times against 5 assists.
Malik Newman (4-14) and Lagerald Vick (4-13) each struggled from the field as well, but Newman was able to contribute on the glass, picking up 9 rebounds. Azubuike added 8 rebounds of his own while making all 5 of his field goals.
Kentucky’s length really seemed to bother Kansas. There were lots of skip passes picked off, lots of drives to the basket blocked, and too many 18-foot jumpers to count. Not sure what the answer is here, but KU really struggled and I feel pretty lucky to come out of there with a win.
Kansas will take on South Dakota State on Friday, November 17, at 7 PM in Allen Fieldhouse.