After an impressive 18-point victory over the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Saturday, the Kentucky men’s basketball program was flying high riding a three-game win streak into Tuesday’s matchup against Alabama. Unfortunately for the Cats, it wouldn’t take long for them to fall back to earth, as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 85-65 victory.
Heading into the game, the Crimson Tide were known for their ability to stretch the floor, as all five guys on the court are viable threats from the outside. Despite that, they had little trouble shooting the ball, connecting on 14-30 from three. In fact, the Tide finished the first half alone 10-22 from deep. Despite only hitting four threes in the second half, Alabama drove the ball down the lane at will, getting by Kentucky defenders with little resistance. The Cats cut the lead to just 11 after a Jacob Toppin and-one made it 54-43 Alabama, but Kentucky would get no closer than 12 for the remainder of the game.
“We reverted,” UK head coach John Calipari said after the game. “I’m not even sure I’ll watch this tape to be honest with you. Move on to the next one.”
Not much went right for Kentucky on the offensive end either, as the Cats shot just 21-61 (34.4%) from the floor and 4-18 from three. Only three Wildcats reached double-digit scoring, as Isaiah Jackson led the team with 14 points in 23 minutes off the bench to go along with six rebounds and seven blocks. In his first start of the season, Keion Brooks Jr. added 10 points on 4-12 shooting and four rebounds. Devin Askew added 12 points and three rebounds in the losing effort as well. As has been the case in many of Kentucky’s losses this season, turnovers were an issue once again, as the Cats coughed up the ball 19 times, leading to 28 Alabama points.
It was a rough day all around for the program, as early Tuesday morning Kentucky basketball announced the passing of former walk-on Ben Jordan. Jordan was a member of the 2019-2020 season who walked onto the team after a successful freshman campaign as a pitcher for the Kentucky baseball team. He was 22 years old.
“Our hearts are broken today. We learned early this morning that we have lost Ben Jordan,” Calipari said. “It is difficult for me to express and to put into words what a tragedy it is to lose a young person too early. Ben impacted our team last season in so many ways with his kind heart, his big smile and his wonderful personality. He cared so deeply about this place and it meant so much to him to be a part of this team. We are grieving today over the loss of a teammate and a brother, but Ben will not be forgotten. We ask that everyone keep Ben and his family in their thoughts and prayers during this time as we try to find a way forward. Ben, may you rest in peace.”
With the loss, Kentucky falls to 4-7 on the year and 3-1 in the SEC. They’ll try to regroup before traveling to Auburn Saturday for a matchup with the Tigers. Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm.