The fans in Arlington, Texas were treated to great basketball tonight at AT&T Stadium. First, the women’s game between the Kentucky Wildcats and Baylor Lady Bears went four overtimes, with the Wildcats prevailing 133-130. The game went so long the second game between the men’s teams of the respective schools was postponed about an hour.
In the second game, the Baylor Bears defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 67-62. Baylor improved to 8-1, and Kentucky fell to 7-2.
Baylor worked up a 16-7 lead to begin the first half, but the Wildcats fought back, and grabbed the lead with 3:15 to go. Kentucky would head into halftime with a 38-35 lead after an Andrew Harrison three-pointer.
The Wildcats continued playing well to open the second half, going on a 8-2 run to take a nine-point lead. The Bears then clawed back, and took the lead after two made free throws by Kenny Chery at 6:01 left in the game. Baylor would lead the rest of the way in an exciting finish that came down to Baylor’s ability to rebound the ball, and limit opportunities for the Wildcats.
Many of the future NBA players on the court came up big for their respective teams. The Baylor Bears were led by junior guard Kenny Chery, who scored a game-high 18 points (8-15 FG) with 5 assists. Forward Cory Jefferson and Center Isaiah Austin each netted 13 points. Jefferson grabbed eight boards, and Austin grabbed six boards and blocked five shots. Sophomore forward Rico Gathers was an absolute beast on the glass, securing 13 rebounds along with scoring 6 points.
The Wildcats were led by freshman sensation Julius Randle. Randle used his power moves to score 16 points, grab 8 rebounds, and dish out 4 assists. Freshman brothers Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison each had six assists. Aaron also scorched the nets for three three-pointers, and a total of 15 points. Freshman (yes, another freshman!) guard James Young hit four three-pointers, and finished with 14 points. Sophomore forward Willie Cauley-Stein had eight points and three blocks.
Kentucky relied heavily on the three ball to stay in the game. The Wildcats hit 8 of 17 threes, which helped make up for being outrebounded 41-25. Can’t give up all those rebounds with big physical players on your roster. Coach John Calipari will look to plug the rebounding hole as the season progresses.
With the win tonight, Baylor proved they have what it takes to be a top ranked team. The Big 12 keeps getting stronger.