UK falls in OT at Texas A&M

Published 12:33 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

By Keith Taylor

Kentucky Today

Kentucky is no longer undefeated in the Southeastern Conference.

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The Wildcats suffered their first conference setback of the season on Saturday with a 97-92 overtime loss at Texas A&M. The sixth-ranked Wildcats had a six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 12-3 and 2-1 in the SEC. Kentucky had won its previous four games against the hosts.

“That was a hard fought game,” UK coach John Calipari said. “I think our young inexperience showed. I did a bad job down the stretch. We have stuff we run and I got away from it because they were switching and I should have just done what we do.

“But we fought. That’s what this team has been. This team has a will to win. You could see they have the will to win — they’re not going to give up even though the other team’s playing well.”

The Aggies, who had averaged just 54 points in their first two conference contests, both of which were losses, scored the first five points of overtime, while the Wildcats fell apart in the overtime period and tallied just three points — all on free throws.

“I told our team, they’re desperate. They’re a desperate team at home. They’ve got to have this game. Let’s make it hard to beat us,’” Calipari said. “I thought we did, but the end of regulation when we had a chance and the overtime, it was like, ‘I’m just going to do my own thing.’ And that’s on me as a coach.”

Kentucky forced the extra period when Reed Sheppard made two free throws after he was fouled on a putback attempt with five tenths of a second remaining. Sheppard scored 13 points as four players finished in double figures for the Wildcats.

Antonio Reeves led Kentucky with 22 points followed by D.J. Wagner with 18. Rob Dillingham made three straight 3-pointers in the final two minutes of regulation and finished with 15 points.

Kentucky took 39 shots behind the arc and made 15 of those attempts from long range. In addition to the shooting struggles, the Wildcats managed just 17 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points.

Kentucky forward Adou Thiero missed his fourth straight game as he recovers from what the school has termed as “general soreness.”

Texas A&M (10-6, 1-2) also won the battle of the boards, 54-46 and made a season-high 12 3-pointers. The Aggies had made just 10 combined threes in their first two conference contests.

Wade Taylor and Tyrece Radford combined for 59 points to lead the Aggies. Taylor scored 31, while Radford tallied 28.