How the mighty have fallen: UK goes down to Evansville

Nov 12, 2019; Lexington, KY, USA; Evansville Purple Aces guard K.J. Riley (33) celebrates with forward DeAndre Williams (13) after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Did that just happen? We witnessed the fall of the number one team in the land and they only held the title for one day.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats hadn’t lost a non-conference game since the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge against the Kansas Jayhawks. That came crashing down on Tuesday with a 67-64 lost to the Evansville Aces. The Cat’s lost snapped a 52-game winning streak over unranked teams at home. It also marked the eighth time UK has lost under John Calipari with the nation’s leading basketball team.

“They beat us,” Calipari said. “This wasn’t us giving them a game. They took it from us. They came into Rupp Arena, where not many people win, and they won a tough game.”

In a homecoming for head coach Walter McCarty, a Kentucky alumnus, the win was a fitting way to return home. The Wildcats came into the game as 24-point favorites. Evansville shot 38% from the field and 9-of-30 from beyond the arc. In comparison, UK shot 4-of-17 from the land of three.

“I don’t know if anything matches this, other than winning a national championship,” McCarty said. “Our guys stuck together, we executed, and we really trusted each other. It was a team win. I’m very proud of our guys. We’ve got veteran players; I think we match up with a lot of teams well.”

The defeat shocked college basketball, but even with key players out, the Wildcats should be just fine. Kentucky was picked by many to make a Final Four and will look to get back to their winning ways against Utah Valley. Evansville hopes to keep the momentum going against IU Kokomo.

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