Rapid reaction: Baylor 64, Kentucky 55
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A quick look at Baylor’s 64-55 win over No. 8 Kentucky, the Bears' first-ever nonconference road win against a top-25 team (had been 0-18).
Overview: Coming off an uninspired loss at Notre Dame, Kentucky didn’t do much to settle the worries in the Commonwealth. This young team in progress has a lot of progress to make to be as good as everyone expects the Wildcats to be.
Kentucky lost its first game in Rupp Arena since Billy Gillispie’s last stand on the homecourt, back in 2009, ending the 55-game streak and John Calipari’s perfect home mark.
The shots weren’t falling for the Cats, but then again, they weren’t exactly slipping through the twine for Baylor, either. The problem was just general sloppiness -- turnovers, missed free throws, coming up short at the rim, bad rebounding.
There is plenty of time to fix all this -- it’s only Dec. 1. But there’s also a lot to fix.
Turning point: Down by as many as 10 in the early second half, UK clawed back to make it a four-point game and get the tense crowd back on its feet with about five minutes to play. But Isaiah Austin scored on the next play and Wildcats never could capitalize.
Key player: The point guard position was going to be pivotal in this game, what with Kentucky trying to find one and Baylor in possession of a good one in the form of Pierre Jackson. No surprise that it came down to a point guard. Jackson’s heady play, timely big shots and perfect stroke at the free throw line was the difference. He didn’t shoot very well from the field, but finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Key stat: The keys here weren’t the pretty stats, but the ugly ones. Kentucky had lots to choose from -- 29 percent from the floor (21-of-72), 19 percent from the arc (4-of-22) and 16 turnovers. All bad.
Miscellaneous: Brady Heslip started for Baylor, returning to action after an emergency appendectomy on Nov. 20. … Kyle Wiltjer is going to have nightmares about this game for a long time. The usually money long-distance shooter was a horrific 1-of-9 from long range and 1-of-11 overall, a huge drain on the Wildcats’ offense. ... All five Baylor starters finished in double-figures scoring for the first time this season.
Next game: Calipari still won’t have a lot of time in practice to fix what ails the Cats. Kentucky hosts Samford on Tuesday. Baylor, meanwhile, will host Northwestern on the same day.
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