Kansas State comeback ousts Kentucky from NCAA Tournament, ending the Wildcats’ season
The Kentucky Wildcats’ 2022-23 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas State, the 3 seed in the East Regional, defeated 6-seeded UK 75-69 in the round of 32 on Sunday, putting an end to the Cats’ postseason after Kentucky defeated Providence in the first round of March Madness two days earlier.
In what might have been his final game as a Kentucky player, Oscar Tshiebwe — two days after setting a UK record for rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game — was a force in the paint again Sunday, going for 25 points and 18 rebounds. He was also 9-for-11 on free throws.
Freshman guard Cason Wallace continued to play through injuries and hit several big shots for the Wildcats, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Freshman forward Chris Livingston also made several huge plays on both end of the court, contributing 11 points and seven rebounds.
Antonio Reeves, who had become an offensive catalyst for Kentucky, was 1-for-15 from the field and 1-for-10 on three-pointers Sunday afternoon. He made two free throws with 15 seconds left for his first points of the game. He then hit a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds left for his only field goal, but Kansas State still led 73-69 after that shot.
Kentucky led Kansas State 60-59 at the final TV timeout of the game, but K-State hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final minutes of the game, and UK struggled to make shots down the stretch.
Kentucky used a 13-0 run at the beginning of the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a 39-31 lead before the first TV timeout of the period, but Kansas State chipped away at that advantage and retook the lead before the midway point of the half, and it was a close one from there.
Not much went Kentucky’s way in the first half. The Wildcats went into the locker room at halftime having shot 29.4 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from three-point range over the game’s first 20 minutes. They also committed 11 turnovers — four each by Wallace and Tshiebwe — and Wallace had two fouls in the first half, sitting the final 3:48 of the period.
Still, Kentucky led K-State for nearly 15 minutes in the first half, as the Big 12 Wildcats went 0-for-12 from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes, missing several wide-open shots. K-State was 5-for-9 from deep in the second half.
Kansas State had back-to-back buckets to close the first half, turning a 26-25 deficit into a 29-26 halftime advantage over the final 44 seconds of the period.
Kentucky, which was ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, ended the season with a 22-12 record.
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Box score from Kentucky basketball’s 75-69 loss to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament
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