Kansas Overcomes Offensive Woes to Beat Kentucky

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jalen Wilson scored 21 of his career-high 23 points in the second half and posted his first double-double to help No. 7 Kansas get past No. 20 Kentucky 65-62 on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic.

Wilson grabbed 10 rebounds as the Jayhawks (2-1) won their second straight since losing their opener to top-ranked Gonzaga. Ochai Agbaji had 17 points.

Kentucky (1-2) was led by Brandon Boston Jr. and Davion Mintz, who each scored 12. Mintz had a chance to tie it with five seconds to go but his 3-pointer was off the mark and Kansas grabbed the rebound.

This matchup between college basketball’s two winningest programs was no classic.

It was sloppy, ugly and disjointed in an empty Bankers Life Fieldhouse that had no fans, no cardboard cutouts and no piped-in noise except during timeouts. And the lack of intensity was palpable throughout the game.

Kansas shot 30% from the field, missing three of four free throws during one stretch in the final minute when it could have sealed the win. Kentucky shot 36% but couldn’t even grab the rebound after Agbaji missed his second free throw during the stretch.

The Wildcats took an early double-digit lead but after closing to 35-29 at halftime, Kansas opened the second period on a 10-3 run to take the lead.

But the offensive woes prevented either team from taking control until Agbaji broke a 55-all tie with a rare 3-pointer at the 2:43 mark. His dunk on the next possession finally gave Kansas some breathing room.