The Kentucky Wildcats made their first trip back to Morgantown, WV in nearly half a century.
The narrative going in was a combination that didn’t bode well for Kentucky either on paper or in the eye test based on what we had witnessed thus far.
Press Virginia + an extremely young, younger than normal, Kentucky team = a bad situation for the Cats.
Add in the fact that the Mountaineers had dropped three of their last four games and Kentucky’s penchant for turning the ball over and you could see why the odds makers would have UK as a rare double-digit underdog on the road.
The game started like you would imagine it would. Kentucky won the opening tap, turned the ball over and gave up a dunk.
Kevin Knox, who was well on his way to showing out, hit a three to give Kentucky a 3-2 lead. West Virginia quickly answered back with eight unanswered points and it was 10-3 and the rout was on.
Or so most everyone thought.
Jay Williams with the swerve. pic.twitter.com/GhZVR5HSDr
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 27, 2018
It was definitely a daunting task. Kevin Knox was up for the challenge, he came to play from the jump.
— Vinny Hardy (@VinnyHardy) January 28, 2018
Knox, the object of many impatient fans’ frustration, had 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting in the first half. But he was in need of some help. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter virtually canceled him out in the first 20 minutes with 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting. Carter also had more help as Segaba Konate and James Bolden chipped in nine and eight points respectively.
Jevon Carter putting on a show
— John Clay (@johnclayiv) January 28, 2018
Kentucky battled back to cut the Mountaineers lead to 15-13 and found success connecting on nice outlets to get several transition buckets.
Turnovers and Carter’s hot shooting propelled West Virginia to go on a 23-8 run to take a commanding 38-21 lead after 17 minutes of play and a 48-33 lead at the half.
Kevin Knox, the star of the evening, picked up right where he left off in the second half en route to his new career high of 34 points.
KENTUCKY UPSETS No. 7 WEST VIRGINIA!!
THE SEC WINS THE BIG 12 SEC CHALLENGE!!!
THAT. JUST. HAPPENED. pic.twitter.com/rAc7a8YHi0
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 28, 2018
HamidouDiallo scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. Nick Richards saw big minutes in crucial situations, his putback jam was a dagger. He also knocked down four consecutive free throws to tie the game at 66 and stop an 8-0 West Virginia run that swung old Uncle Mo the Mountaineers’ way.
Kentucky’s defense on Jevon Carter turned the game around. The Cats held him to eight points on 3 of 10 shooting. That was pivotal in helping them chisel away the 17-point deficit in the second half.
Nick Richards putback slam. pic.twitter.com/06g1Yga5Ma
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 28, 2018
What a turnaround. Kentucky held West Virginia to 28 points in the second half while hanging half a hundred on them in the second half.
If history repeats itself Kentucky won’t roll into Morgantown again until the 2064-65 season. They definitely made it a trip to remember.