Cats Can't Find 55

Publisher
Posted Dec 1, 2012


Baylor found a way to accomplish something Saturday that 54 consecutive UK opponents could not do: hand a John Calipari team a loss in Rupp Arena.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Baylor found a way to accomplish something Saturday that 54 consecutive Kentucky opponents could not do: hand a John Calipari team a loss in Rupp Arena.

In a rematch of the programs that clashed in last year's NCAA South Region final, the Bears placed all five starters in double figures and held the Wildcats to their worst shooting percentage (29.6) in four years under Calipari en route to a 64-55 win.

The loss also snapped UK's nation-long 55-game overall home winning streak. The Cats won their final home game under previous head coach Billy Gillispie, a victory over UNLV in the 2009 NIT at Memorial Coliseum.

"You gotta give Baylor credit," Calipari said. "They came in here and had their gameplan and what they were going to do and performed."

Baylor (5-2) got 17 points from senior guard Pierre Jackson, who also chipped in with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. The Bears also got 11 points from both A.J. Walton and Isaiah Austin as well as 10 points apiece from Cory Jefferson and Brady Heslip.

Kentucky (4-3) made only 21 of 71 attempts from the field. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer led the brickfest with a 1-for-11 performance and missed eight of his nine 3-point attempts. Guards Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow went 2-for-9 and 1-for-9, respectively. Center Nerlens Noel was 3-for-14.

"Think about that," Calipari said. "We still had a chance to win the game. We went 9-for-18 from the free throw line, 50 percent. We shot 18 percent (4 of 22) from the 3-point line. And had a chance to win.

"The issue is the will to win... This group doesn't get it yet."

The Wildcats had one of their better rebounding games, beating the Bears 48-37 on the glass and pulling down 21 on the offensive end , but could not convert many of them. UK finished with only eight second-chance points.

"How do you do that?" Calipari asked. "How do you get 21 rebounds right next to the basket (and not convert more)? Twenty points? Half of 'em? Twenty-four, maybe more? How 'bout you get (eight) points. What?

"We're a young team. We're not real physical yet. We've got to work on some things."

Kentucky jumped out to a 17-9 advantage early in the game, but Baylor chipped away for 27-26 lead on a Heslip 3-pointer with 2:26 remaining in the first half. The Wildcats would never regain the lead.

Baylor took a 34-29 edge into the locker room and led by as many as 10 in the second half. It was a two-possession game on nine occasions from the 8:23 mark to the 3:56 mark, but the Cats could never make the key play to draw any closer.

"I think everybody saw that both teams didn’t execute like a veteran team out there," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We’re blessed to have more experience in the back court because at the end of the day, the guards are controlling the tempo and Pierre Jackson, Brady Heslip and A.J. Walton did a great job. Whenever Kentucky made runs and when the crowd got involved they did a good job answering."

Freshman guard Archie Goodwin led UK with 17 points and five assists. Fellow newcomer Alex Poythress added 13 points and six rebounds. Noel had a unique line that included eight points, a career-high 16 rebounds and six steals.

NOTES:

* Baylor recorded its first win over the Wildcats. Kentucky leads the all-time series 7-1, including 4-1 in Lexington.

* Kentucky is now 59-10 all-time against teams from the Big 12 Conference.

* UK's 21 offensive rebounds were the most since another poor-shooting performance when the Cats grabbed 24 in the 2010 NCAA regional final loss to West Virginia.

* Goodwin became the first Wildcat to foul out of a game this season.

* Harrow played a season-high 18 minutes.



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