X

Ashton Hagans, No. 6 Kentucky Upset by Unranked Utah 69-66

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 19, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18:  Both Gach #11 of the Utah Utes drives against Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the annual Neon Hoops Showcase benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at T-Mobile Arena on December 18, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Utah Utes upset the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats 69-66 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

Utah Basketball🏀 @UtahMBB

VICTORY!! UTES TAKE DOWN NO. 6 KENTUCKY! 🔴 69 | 🔵66 #GoUtes🏀🔴 https://t.co/pA6kl5CYW7

The Utes celebrated properly in the locker room afterward:

Utah Basketball🏀 @UtahMBB

LOCKER ROOM MOOD‼️🔥💦 #GoUtes🏀🔴 https://t.co/GOjWqPfrs4

Kentucky freshman guard Tyrese Maxey bucketed the first points of the game and put the Wildcats up 2-0, but the Utes led for the entire game after that until UK threatened late in the second half, coming from 17 points down to tie the game at 66 with 1:43 in regulation.

Timmy Allen's jumper put Utah back up 68-66 20 seconds later, but the penultimate moment came when officials reviewed what was originally called a defensive shooting foul on the Utes and reversed it to an offensive charge committed by Maxey.

Kentucky had another chance to tie the game after Rylan Jones made a free throw to extend Utah's lead to 69-66, but Maxey missed his three-point attempt with 11 seconds left. EJ Montgomery nabbed the offensive rebound, and UK was able to call a timeout to retain possession, but Immanuel Quickley missed his three-point attempt as time expired.

Allen led all scorers with 25 points and flirted with a double-double at nine rebounds. Utah's other double-digit scorers were Jones, Both Gach and Riley Battin.

The Wildcats' scoring efforts were led by Maxey's 18 points and 16 points from sophomore guard Ashton Hagans.

Overall, the Utes shot 54.8 percent from the field, including 8-of-15 shooting from three-point range, while Kentucky recorded 41.3 percent shooting from the field but a woeful 2-of-17 from deep.

Kentucky dropped to 8-2 with the loss, and the other loss came against unranked 8-4 Evansville 67-64 on Nov. 12 at Rupp Arena.

Utah improved to 9-2, rising to the occasion against its first ranked opponent this year.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari gave a blunt assessment of his team's performance:

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Calipari on the 3-point shooting: "I don't have the answer. I wish I did. I believe we have good shooters. Maybe timid right now?"

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Calipari lamenting all the shot-clock-beaters Kentucky gave up and leaving Utah in corners, which he demands his team not do. Says it's such a late night and quick turn (Cats don't play til Saturday) he might not watch much of this tape.

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

These aren't new issues, Calipari said. "We've had these issues." Says they have to make six or seven 3-pointers a game and too often making one or two instead.

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Calipari saying Utah wasn't even older and physically imposing to push UK around. "They weren't beasts (but) they fought. They deserved it. He outcoached me and they outplayed us. They deserved to win the game."

But this was hardly the most egregious upset to happen so far this season—both to UK and around college basketball.

Kentucky's loss to Evansville was worse, as they were the top-ranked program in the nation at the time. Michigan State's season began by losing to Kentucky 69-62 while ranked No. 1 at the time. Duke was ranked No. 1 when losing to Stephen F. Austin 85-83 in overtime on Nov. 26, and No. 1 Louisville collected its first loss when Texas Tech topped it 70-57 on Dec. 10.

Sunday, the previously undefeated No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes fell 84-71 to unranked Minnesota.

It's hard to gauge the Wildcats right now, but a clearer picture will emerge after their next two games. Kentucky and No. 5 Ohio State will clash Saturday at T-Mobile Arena before Louisville, now No. 3, visits Rupp Arena on Dec. 28.