No. 9 KU Jayhawks defeat Kentucky in Big 12/SEC Challenge: How Kansas earned the win

James Crisp/AP

Kansas’ three-game losing streak has come to an end.

Jalen Wilson scored 22 points and KJ Adams added 17 as the No. 9-ranked Jayhawks knocked off the unranked but red-hot Kentucky Wildcats 77-68 on Saturday in a Big 12/SEC Challenge contest at Rupp Arena.

Gradey Dick contributed 13 points and Kevin McCullar had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Jayhawks (17-4), a team that entered the contest following losses to Kansas State, TCU and Baylor.

Oscar Tshiebwe scored 18 points with nine rebounds and four assists for Kentucky (14-7) which had a four-game winning streak snapped by KU.

The Jayhawks avoided a fourth-straight loss, which would have been KU’s longest losing streak since the 1988-89 season, Roy Williams’ first of 15 seasons as KU coach.

That’s also the last year the Jayhawks did not make the NCAA Tournament. They were not eligible because of NCAA probation sanctions. That season is also the last time KU dropped five consecutive games.

Wilson scored 10 points while Harris snapped a recent slump by scoring eight points and dishing four assists against two turnovers in the first half, as KU led 41-34 at the break. McCullar grabbed eight rebounds and scored six points in the half. The Jayhawks led by as many as nine in the period (41-32). UK led by as many as five (11-6)

UK which led early 9-4, 11-6 and 20-16, was led by Jacob Toppin and Chris Livingston, who had eight points apiece in the first half. Tshiebwe had six points, four rebounds (though no offensive rebounds) and three assists at the break.

KU hit 17 of 35 shots in the half (2-of-7 threes and 5-of-5 from the line) good for 48.6%. Kentucky hit 15 of 27 shots (0-for-6 threes, 4-of-11 from the line) for 55.6%.

KU led 47-39 with 16:58 to play when Tshiebwe scored a pair of inside baskets to slice the gap to four. Kentucky narrowed the margin to one point at 51-50 with 11:51 left. Wilson temporarily silenced the crowd by sinking a three. Gradey Dick followed with a two and it was 56-50 KU at 11:11.

KU maintained a four-point lead at the under-eight media stoppage. Right before the timeout, KU’s Dick fired up an errant three that hit the side of the backboard with 7:44 to play.

It was 64-62 KU following a bucket by UK’s Toppin at 5:11. Dick and Wilson hit threes, sandwiching a two by Tshiebwe, and KU led 70-64 at 4:11.

Wilson hit a deep two to give KU a 75-68 lead at 1:49.

The Jayhawks improved to 11-24 all-time against Kentucky. KU has now has won five of the last seven games between the blue bloods.

KU improved to 6-4 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which will not be continued next season. KU is 3-2 in the Challenge versus UK.

KU coach Bill Self’s record as KU coach versus Kentucky improved to 8-5. He is 6-6 in head-to-head matchups against John Calipari, including KU’s win over Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game.