Photo by Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images
Kentucky’s offensive woes continued for the second straight game, yet for a period in the first half, fans thought the Cats turned a corner.
For a few minutes, Kentucky basketball was back. The Wildcats were scoring at will, moving up and down the court and suffocating the Jayhawks with incredible length on defense. Once the 15-0 Kentucky run concluded at the midway point of the first half, the offense slowly reverted back to its losing ways, ultimately falling 65-62 to Kansas in the 2020 edition of the Champions Classic in Indianapolis.
A few things to illustrate how poorly Kentucky’s offense performed:Kansas shot 29% and won. Isaiah Jackson made a bucket with 4:20 to play before halftime. Kentucky would only make one shot over the next 12:20 of game action. Going back to the Richmond game, Kentucky missed 19 straight threes before Donatie Allen netted one from long range. They finished just 3-of-21, which means UK is 3-for-31 (9.6%) from behind the three-point line over the last 40 minutes of basketball.
Despite all of the offensive struggles and the incredible foul trouble, Olivier Sarr almost gave Kentucky a four-point lead with less four minutes to play. Instead, he missed a put-back dunk, which Kansas turned into a transition bucket to tie the game. Kentucky somehow got one more chance to tie it, down three with 10.2 seconds to play, but Davion Mintz’s three fell short off the iron.
The lackluster offensive performance overshadows Isaiah Jackson’s incredible night. The freshman forward almost recorded a double-double in rebounds and blocked shots, finishing the night with 12 boards, 8 blocked shots and 7 points.
Kentucky fans have not seen much good offense in 2020. It does not look like that’s going to change anytime soon.