Kentucky’s terrible start too much to overcome. No. 2 Gonzaga hands Cats another loss.
It was an all systems fail from the get-go for the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday evening. A much-anticipated matchup between No. 4 UK and No. 2 Gonzaga fizzled — from the Cats’ perspective, at least — almost immediately, and the Bulldogs rolled Kentucky 88-72 in a packed Spokane Arena that was already raucous an hour before the opening tip. UK missed its first five shots of the game. The Zags made their first five shots of the game. By the time Oscar Tshiebwe finally got UK on the board with a turnaround jumper in the lane, Gonzaga was already up 8-0. The Zags jumped out to a 19-6 lead before the second TV timeout of the game.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Oscar Tshiebwe went up-and-under the outstretched arms of Drew Timme for two points. Timme responded in kind on the following possession, spinning around Tshiebwe for a bucket.
Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, right, controls the ball while defended by Gonzaga forward Anton Watson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton (45) shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga guard Malachi Smith (13) controls the ball while defended by Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga forward Drew Timme reacts after making a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, against Kentucky, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, right, and Kentucky head coach John Calipari greet each other before an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) grabs a rebound next to Gonzaga center Efton Reid III (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Kentucky head coach John Calipari directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga guard Julian Strawther (0) shoots while defended by Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga forward Ben Gregg (33) and Kentucky forward Chris Livingston (24) go after a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Back-to-back plays featuring two of the best, and most well known, players in college basketball.
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Everything Sunday's matchup between No. 4 Kentucky and No. 2 Gonzaga was billed to be.
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There was only one problem for college basketball fans the world over: that sequence was one of the rare times the two stars, front-runners for the national player of the year, made highlight-reel plays for their respective teams Sunday.
The specific issue for the Wildcats: Outside of Tshiebwe, no other player found much success against the Bulldogs. While Tshiebwe posted yet another double-double (20 points and 15 rebounds) — a bounceback for him after failing to record one in Thursday's lopsided win over South Carolina State — it took until the second half for his teammates to come alive. (Jacob Toppin had 16 points, Cason Wallace had 14 and Antonio Reeves reached 10 with a 3-pointer that rattled in with eight seconds to play.)
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Three takeaways from Kentucky basketball’s 86-77 double-overtime loss to Michigan State in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse: 1. Same site, same result for the Cats Back in March, in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament, No. 2 seed Kentucky lost to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s 85-79 in overtime at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This season, in the Champions Classic in mid-November, No. 4-ranked Kentucky lost to unranked Michigan State 86-77 in double overtime at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. In March, the Cats were 4-for-15 from three-point range for 26.7 percent. On Tuesday, the Cats were 7-for-25 from three-point range for 28.
Compare that lack of balance to Timme's squad. He had 22 points (on 9-of-13 shooting) and seven rebounds. And he had help in the form of Julian Strawther (matching Tshiebwe with a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds) and Rasir Bolton (game-high 24 points, 8-for-14 from the field).
Add it up, and it led to arguably the most high-profile non-conference contest of the season being a snoozer, with the Bulldogs cruising to an 88-72 victory.
The Wildcats (3-2) never led, as the Zags scored the first eight points, and 10 of the first 12. Gonzaga (3-1) took a 41-25 advantage into intermission.
Though Kentucky cut the deficit to 49-45 with 13:07 remaining on back-to-back 3-pointers from Wallace and Reeves, respectively, the Wildcats never truly threatened the Bulldogs at Spokane Arena. Following the second of the 3-point makes, Gonzaga outscored UK 39-27 in the final 12 minutes.
It's Kentucky's second loss in five games, both at the hands of programs — Michigan State is the other — it likely will need to beat come March, when the Wildcats begin their chase for their first Final Four appearance in seven years. For the Zags, it was exactly the response they wanted following their most one-sided loss in more than eight years. (Texas romped to a 93-74 victory over Gonzaga Wednesday in Austin, Texas.)
Bellarmine provides a test in first meeting, but Kentucky basketball passes: 3 takeaways
Bellarmine was itching to knock off the Wildcats. For the better part of 24 minutes Tuesday at Rupp Arena, it appeared the Knights might just do it. They led for the majority of the first half; Kentucky didn't take its first lead until 5:27 remained before halftime. In the second half, Bellarmine held a four-point advantage (32-28) with 16:08 to go.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. But the Wildcats (5-2) upped their play in the final 15 minutes half to walk away with a 60-41 victory. Antonio Reeves led Kentucky in scoring with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
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Here are three takeaways from Sunday's game.
Tshiebwe wins matchup with Timme, but Zags star wins the game © Young Kwak, AP Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) shoots while defended by Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
The pair were fairly evenly matched offensively, with Tshiebwe making 58.3% of his attempts, and Timme countering with a 69.2% mark. Tshiebwe, as he so often does, won the battle on the boards, pulling down a game-high 15 to Timme’s 7. Timme had more turnovers (4-2), but made up for it with three assists (Tshiebwe didn’t record an assist Sunday).
It’s clear, despite yet another stellar outing from Tshiebwe, that he’s still working to get his feet and stamina back. At times in the first half he kept looking to the bench, begging to come out. After one instance in which asked to sub, he committed a turnover moments later.
In a moment that seemed to sum up the game for the Wildcats, Tshiebwe missed a putback dunk during the first half … immediately after Toppin couldn’t slam the ball home on an alley oop.
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Who wins the 2022 Governor’s Cup rivalry game? We asked reporters from Lexington and Louisville to share their thoughts on the game. Many expect another big game from Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, the MVP of the Wildcats’ 2021 win. Others wonder if the status of Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham could affect the game’s outcome. There were plenty of concerns about how Rich Scangarello’s UK offense could match up against a Louisville defense that leads the country in sacks. Kentucky’s recent dominance in the series ended up being a key factor for many of the reporters surveyed. Others are buying into Louisville’s hot streak.
When it comes time for award season, and ballots have to be turned in for player of the year, this game won’t give either Tshiebwe or Timme the upper hand; for all intents and purposes, they played to a draw.
But Timme will take the team victory any day.
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Kentucky abysmal shooting beyond the arc © Young Kwak, AP Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, right, controls the ball while defended by Gonzaga forward Anton Watson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Kentucky couldn’t buy a 3-point bucket in the first half. The Wildcats went 0-for-10 from deep in the opening 20 minutes. CJ Fredrick finally found the bottom of the net from behind the arc with 18:07 remaining.
UK added five more 3s thereafter, but it still finished just 6-for-25 on 3-point attempts. That’s a 24% success rate. On a night the Zags barely were better from long range — the hosts were 7 of 19 (36.8%) — it was a missed opportunity for the Wildcats to capitalize.
What’s more, more accurate shooting from distance would have made life easier for Tshiebwe, and Kentucky’s other post players.
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Defense the furthest thing from stingy
Just how bad was Kentucky defensively? Gonzaga made well over half its field goal attempts — flirting with 60% before settling at 56.4 (31 of 55).
Four of the Bulldogs’ five starters — Timme, Strawther, Bolton and Anton Watson — converted 50% (or more) of their attempts; the only one who didn’t was Nolan Hickman, the former Kentucky signee, who went 1-for-3 from the field for four points.
What’s equally maddening for the Wildcats: The Bulldogs had 18 turnovers, compared to just 11 for the visitors.
Despite that seven-turnover disparity, Gonzaga still outscored UK in points off turnovers 18-13.
The Wildcats have plenty to clean up in nearly every area heading into their next game, a 4 p.m. affair Wednesday against North Florida at Rupp Arena.
Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @RyanABlack.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Gonzaga basketball beats Kentucky: 3 takeaways as Drew Timme gets better of Oscar Tshiebwe
Andy Dick Sentenced To Jail .
Troubled Star Trek: Voyager actor and controversial comedian Andy Dick is making headlines once again after being sentenced to 90 days in jail. According to the Los Angeles Times, the disgraced star was convicted of sexual battery, which stems from an incident in April 2018 when an Uber driver accused Dick of groping him. The comic will check himself into the Los Angeles County Jail beginning on November 17. As if spending three months behind bars isn't bad enough, Andy Dick was also sentenced to 12 months of summary probation upon his release, and he is required to register as a sex offender.