Keion Brooks records 27 points as Wildcats dominate Jayhawks 80-62
January 31, 2022
Kentucky Wildcats secured a victory against the Kansas Jayhawks 80-62 on Saturday, Jan. 29. The victory puts the Wildcats second in the Southeastern standing just behind Auburn Tigers.
Wildcats ranked 12th in the AP Top 25, and victory against the Jayhawks currently ranked seventh had attracted many eyes to what the Wildcats are capable of.
Wildcats get the upper hand
The Wildcats got the upper hand on the beginning with 51-31 on the first and were caught by Jayhawks on the second with 31-29. Although the Jayhawks, with all of their efforts in giving the Wildcats a tough time, the game would later be decided by the Wildcats with a wide margin of 18 points, 80-62.
The victory can be attributed by much to the highest achiever of the match, forward Keion Brooks Jr. with a career-high 27 points, one assist and eight rebounds–and forward Oscar Tshiebwe with 17 points, one assist, and 14 rebounds.
Brooks leads Wildcats on the offensive
Brooks went all out against the Jayhawks and was at the forefront of the Wildcats offensive play. Brooks also prevented the Jayhawks from getting back into the game by securing more points for the team. Brooks’ performance was backed by Tshiebwe later into the second half of the game when Tshiebwe jumped followed Brooks 15 points to Wildcats.
Brooks’ best performance is much to be credited for. As it was him who grabbed the first two successful rebounds and managed to put them into the basket. Brooks' best play so far was during the game against the Jayhawks.
“It’s how he’s been playing in his couple of games and practice,” John Calipari, the Wildcats’ head coach said. “It wasn’t just making baskets. He rebounded. He defended. He came from the week side and tipped the ball. He did all the other things, and then he made shots.”
While Brooks and Tshiebwe had only managed one assist each, the team’s assists on the other hand were covered by guard Sahvir Wheeler with seven points, eight assists, and three rebounds– and guard TyTy Washington Jr. having two points, five assists, and three rebounds.
The Wildcats came back stronger after Wheeler and Washington’s injuries in previous games. After coming back from the injury, Washington’s supplementary performance against the Jayhawks still made him worthy since he was unable to play due to his ankle injury and considering that he is the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer–not to mention that Washington is an NBA draft prospect. Therefore, not coming back great into the game is out of the question for him.
The Wildcats had the upper hand based on field goals percentage. Having 31/61 goals or 50.8% leading over the Jayhawks with only 24/59 or 40.7%. The Jayhawks tried their back to close the gap, with relatively close field goals which complemented with the two same percentage in three-pointers of 6/18 or 33.3%.
The Jayhawks would eventually be put on the corner with the Wildcats offensive showcase throughout the entire game with 41-29 total rebounds and 12-7 offensive marks. Describing the Wildcats' performance in beating the Jayhawk as usual or common is an understatement having the ranking differences the two have on this season.
The Wildcats’ victory tasted sweet for the team and Calipari. “We’ve won a lot of games against ranked teams, all kinds of different ways,” Calipari said.
Wildcats’ victory against the Jayhawks had shown a great potential for the team in making it big on the Final Four and even a great contender in the national championship.