Kentucky vs. Kansas score, takeaways: Keion Brooks leads Wildcats to rout of Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse

kentucky-brooks.jpg
USATSI

No. 12 Kentucky flexed its muscles Saturday in an 80-62 win over No. 5 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Wildcats looked every bit the national championship contender in building a 20-point halftime edge, with Kansas never getting closer than 14 points in the final 20 minutes.

Keion Brooks Jr. scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Oscar Tshiebwe had another double-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.

Kentucky led by as many as 24 points and led for more than 37:30 of the 40-minute contest.

Kentucky held Kansas to an 12-for-26 night on layups and dunks, dominated on the glass and never let the Jayhawks' top five offense get going.

Kentucky (17-4) will take on Vanderbilt on Wednesday, while Kansas (17-3) faces a tough trip to Iowa State on Tuesday.

Here are three takeaways from Kentucky's win:

Kentucky shows off vicious 'A' game again

Kentucky may just have the best 'A' game in the country. The Wildcats absolutely dominated in building a 20-point halftime lead, one that swelled to 22 points in the second half. It was a similar look to when the Wildcats jumped all over North Carolina, or more recently, Kentucky's 107-79 victory over Tennessee.

The Wildcats were the aggressors from the opening tip, dominating inside both with power and quickness. Kentucky got the lane whenever it wanted, and generally finished when the Wildcats got there. Kentucky was strong with the ball, limiting turnovers, and forced Kansas out of its comfort zone on the other end.

Kansas entered the day as the fourth No. 1 seed, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm, but was utterly outmatched in every way. Palm said the Jayhawks will drop off that No. 1 seed line to a No. 2, and will be replaced by Wisconsin.

Kentucky came in as a No. 4 seed, but the Wildcats displayed once again that they have all the pieces for a deep tournament run.

Wildcats' wealth of options

In this case, "all the pieces" means pieces at every single spot. Tshiebwe is the best board man in recent memory and is an All-America candidate. Sahvir Wheeler is playing like an All-SEC point guard. Kellan Grady has made four 3-pointers in each of Kentucky's last three games. TyTy Washington is a five-star freshman who ranked second on the team in both scoring and assists, and he's scored 20 or more points four times this year, including 28 in the win over Tennessee.

And then there's Keion Brooks. At different points in his Kentucky career, he's been discussed as a possible All-SEC player. And he looked like that, and more, against Kansas. Brooks scored 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and had a 9-of-10 night from the free-throw line, and his work on the glass and sweet stroke in the midrange meant Kansas couldn't ever really generate momentum to come back in.

Brooks' performance meant that all five Kentucky starters have scored at least 21 points in a game this year. And the only one who hasn't scored at least 26 in a game this season is Grady, who scored 2,002 points and hit that threshold multiple times at Davidson.

Add in Jacob Toppin adding athleticism, defense and energy off the bench — and scoring 11 points in 11 minutes — and the leadership and experience of a guard like Davion Mintz as a key reserve, and Kentucky has everything a team could want.

Back to the chalkboard time for Kansas

This isn't a new spot for Kansas. The Jayhawks have suffered double-digit losses in January and used those to morph into strong teams at the end of the season. Both the 2016 and 2017 Kansas teams actually rebounded with wins against Kentucky immediately following double-digit losses within the conference.

The 2018 Final Four team was bullied by Texas Tech, then fell by 16 at Baylor in early February before starting to turn things around. The 2020 team was trounced by Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse, then didn't lose again. And even last year's team lost five of seven games through February 6 before building a high-level defense and ending the regular season on a high note with some adjustments.

After the Jayhawks were dominated inside against Kentucky, don't be surprised if one adjustment is to continue to slide more minutes the way of freshman KJ Adams at the five.

Expect Remy Martin's use to be panned once again: after playing 22 minutes against Texas Tech — the most he'd played since Jan. 4 — but not logging any minutes down the stretch or in either overtime, Martin played 14 minutes against Kentucky.

0
0
SAT 6:00 P
KANSAS -5, o152
ESPN
KANSAS -5, O/U 152

Season Leaders

points
headshot-image
O. Tshiebwe30.0 PTS, 2.0 AST, 16.0 REB
headshot-image
O. Tshiebwe30.0 PTS, 2.0 AST, 16.0 REB
headshot-image
R. Martin14.0 PTS, 2.7 AST, 4.8 REB
headshot-image
R. Martin14.0 PTS, 2.7 AST, 4.8 REB
assists
headshot-image
S. Wheeler11.0 PTS, 6.0 AST, 4.0 REB
headshot-image
S. Wheeler11.0 PTS, 6.0 AST, 4.0 REB
headshot-image
C. Braun11.2 PTS, 3.7 AST, 7.3 REB
headshot-image
C. Braun11.2 PTS, 3.7 AST, 7.3 REB
rebounds
headshot-image
O. Tshiebwe30.0 PTS, 2.0 AST, 16.0 REB
headshot-image
O. Tshiebwe30.0 PTS, 2.0 AST, 16.0 REB
headshot-image
J. Wilson12.0 PTS, 2.2 AST, 9.7 REB
headshot-image
J. Wilson12.0 PTS, 2.2 AST, 9.7 REB
Live updates
(61)
See New Posts
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:48 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:25 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:18 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:13 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:11 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:10 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:08 AM
Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 1:06 AM
Pinned

Oscar Tshiebwe taking Kentucky home

Now it's the Oscar Tshiebwe show. The Kentucky big man has 14 rebounds, another handful of balls that would have been rebounds in the NBA, where players get credit for tipping the ball to teammates, and is now up to 17 points.

He's shown the complete package today, and filled out that resume with a nice 18-footer to up Kentucky's lead to 24 points, the Wildcats' biggest advantage of the night. Kentucky leads 80-56 with 3:30 remaining.

Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 12:56 AM
Pinned

Kentucky pulls away again

And that should be it. A Kellan Grady 3-pointer turned Kentucky's 16-point lead into a 19-point one, and Kansas fails to block out Jacob Toppin, who laid the ball in to push the lead back to 21. Kansas coach Bill Self calls timeout with 5:48 remaining.

The closest Kansas got after its run was 14 points, but the Jayhawks couldn't make a few more plays to hit tht single-digit mark and apply any sort of real pressure. With Toppin's make, Kentucky has made 12-of-16 on its dunks and layups, while Kansas is at 11-for-22.

Pinned

Kentucky stalls out Kansas momentum

That was a big four minutes for Kentucky. After Kansas cut the lead to 14, the Wildcats stalled the Jayhawks' momentum. After Kansas' 2-3 zone bought the Jayhawks some life, Kansas went back to the earlier triangle-and-2.

Kentucky forward Keion Brooks is having himself a night. There's still more than seven minutes remaining, but he's looking every bit like the best player on the floor with 27 points on just 15 shots.

Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 12:50 AM
Pinned

Kansas shows some life

The Jayhawks showed a burst of energy that coincided somewhat with finding more time for tough freshman KJ Adams and playing more zone. The Jayhawks trailed by 22 points at 60-38 but went on a 10-2 run to cut the advantage to 14 points at the under-12 timeout.

Does Kansas have enough energy — or enough ability to generate stops defensively — to get the scoreline down into single digits? That would allow the Allen Fieldhouse crowd to get back into things.

One obstacle: fouls issues. Kentucky is already in the bonus and could head to the line quite a bit over the final minutes. But Kentucky has committed just two fouls so far, a major advantage as the Wildcats look to hold onto the lead.

Pinned
@KUHoops via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 12:35 AM
Pinned

Kentucky extends lead at the under-16 mark in the second half

Coaches often talk about the importance of the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half. And after leading 51-31 at halftime, Kentucky helped its case by more than holding serve against the Jayhawks in the second half, taking a 22-point edge into the first television timeout of the second half.

Oscar Tshiebwe and Keion Brooks have continued their hard work inside, with Brooks scoring 19 and Tshiebwe adding 13 so far.

Pinned
@KentuckyMBB via Twitter
January 30, 2022, 12:00 AM
Pinned

Kansas goes triangle-and-two

Kansas has often gone to its "junk zone," a triangle-and-two, against Kentucky to take advantage of the Wildcats' typical lack of shooting. But it was always going to be a risk against this Kentucky team for two reasons.

First, this Kentucky team is simply a better shooting squad than most of its predecessors. And second, that opens up a lane for Oscar Tshiebwe to impact a game on the offensive glass.

The former problem quickly surfaced after Kansas went to the zone; while Kentucky struggled to break down the zone on its first possession, Sahvir Wheeler hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. On Kentucky's next possession, Kellan Grady made another 3-pointer to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game, at 20 points.

See More