Jayhawks Battle Back, Take Down No. 20 Kentucky, 65-62 in Champions Classic


Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

INDIANAPOLIS – Despite falling behind by double-digits in the first half, No. 7 Kansas was able to battle back to defeat No. 20 Kentucky, 65-62, at the State Farm Champions Classic inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks were led by a career-high 23 points by redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson, who scored on 8-of-16 from the field, coupled with a career-high 10 rebounds. The performance was Wilson’s first-career double-double and his third-straight game scoring in double-figures.

Along with Wilson, junior Ochai Agbaji scored in double-figures for the third-straight game with 17 points on 5-of-17 from the field and 3-of-9 from beyond the arc.

In his 50th career start, Agbaji came out of the gates with the first five points for KU, before Kentucky opened up a 15-0 run to take the lead, 17-5, at the 10:59 mark of the first half. During Kentucky’s run, the Jayhawks converted just 4-of-18 from the field while turning the ball over eight times.

Despite the slow start, Kansas was able to trim Kentucky’s lead to just six points before the half, as Kentucky led KU, 36-29 at the break. Kansas shot 31% (11-of-35) from the field while out-rebounding the Wildcats, 22-21, in the first half.

In the second half, Kansas battled back behind a 10-0 run, which was the first Jayhawk lead since the 16:15 mark of the first half, when KU led 5-4. The run was fueled by six points by Wilson, while Kentucky fell into foul trouble.

Wilson’s career-day continued into the second half, where he reached his first-career 20-point game and helped put away the Wildcats in the final minutes.


Despite trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Kansas battled back in the second half behind a 10-0 run to take its first lead since the 16:15 mark of the first half at 5-4. The run was spurred by six points from Jalen Wilson, paired with Kentucky’s foul trouble, which sent the Jayhawks to the line for six points during the run.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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