Kentucky once again lost a heartbreaker down the stretch, this time at the hands of No. 18 Missouri 75-70. In the second ever defeat to the Tigers, UK was unable to put a full game together of execution.
Just strictly shooting from the field, the Cats had one of their better outings, going 47% including 9/20 from the three-point line as a team. They were even aided by a 15-3 run to start the second half which closed the gap to 43-42, but Missouri responded and Kentucky was never able to really catch back up.
A big reason for that was in fact decision-making again. For the game, UK totaled 17 turnovers in which Mizzou scored 19 points off off. They also were unable to contain the Tiger guards, specifically senior Dru Smith who finished with 26 points on 6/11 shooting from the floor including 2/3 from the three-point line and 12/14 from the free-throw line. It all came together in the last few minutes, as bad fouls and turnovers accumulated for another awful finish.
“This isn’t like my past teams… we went to the circle [play] but we couldn’t get guys open,” UK Head Coach John Calipari said. “I think they all want to win, but they want to win on their terms.”
Kentucky had a nice performance from freshman forward Isaiah Jackson who finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Creighton grad transfer Davion Mintz also had a good outing, as he totaled 18 points on 6/12 shooting from the floor. Overall, however, it was not a good enough effort to earn a much-needed victory.
UK now has a 5-11 record, including 4-5 in the SEC and still seems to be attempting to “figure it out,” a phrase often spoken as a completed term by January in the Calipari era.