Kentucky falls to Kansas State in second round of the NCAA Tournament


Cason Wallace (#22, Guard) passes the ball against two Kansas State defenders. Photo courtesy of Silas Walker via the Lexington Herald-Leader

Katie Dikes

On Sunday, the Kentucky Wildcats lost to the Kansas State Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. The final score of the game was 69-75.

Prior to playing against Kansas State, Kentucky beat the Providence Friars this past Friday, 61-53, in the first round. 

First Half:

Though both Kentucky and Kansas State had hot starts to the opening half, Kentucky was able to pull ahead and lead for the most part, with their largest lead by eight points. However, Kansas State ended the half on a 12-4 run, pulling ahead of Kentucky with a 3-point lead. The score was 29-26.

Second Half:

At the start of the second half, Kansas State scored the first basket, increasing their lead by five points. However, Kentucky had their own hot streak shortly after and was able to pull ahead of Kansas State, with an 8-point lead. After a timeout was called by Kansas State, their lead slowly fell until they were able to tie up with Kentucky. The second half was very similar to the first half; lots of lead changes with both teams experiencing scoring streaks that helped them pull ahead, but not to a great enough extent. 

In the final few minutes of the half, Kansas State was ultimately able to pull ahead with 3-pointers by Ismael Massoud (#25, Forward) and Keyontae Johnston (#11, Forward). Kentucky was able to make their own 3-pointer and free-throws, but it wasn’t enough. The final score was 69-75.


Kansas State star player, Markquis Nowell (#1, Guard) ended up scoring 27 points, and the team’s offense was too strong for Kentucky to handle in the end. The excessive amount of turnovers as well as a lot of missed field goals by most of Kentucky’s starters also contributed to their loss. 

Senior and Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe (#34, Forward) finished the game with 25 points and 18 rebounds, making it his 20th double-double this season. Cason Wallace (#22, Guard) also finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds of his own. 

Since the 2015 Final Four, Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats have tallied up a total of 10 tournament wins over seven complete seasons, with two Elite Eights, three first weekend exits and one missed tournament. 

We had some guys really fight like crazy and then had a couple of guys offensively not play their game the way they played all year, but that stuff happens in this tournament. We did a pretty good job on Johnson, and he makes that three. We miss a couple, and all of a sudden, it gets out of hand,” Calipari said, remarking  that this was a “[t]ough way to end.” 

“These kids fought. They never stopped. Oscar was — again, did some special stuff,” Calipari said, referring to Wallace and Chris Livingston (#24, Forward ), who sat beside him on the press conference stage.

Kentucky ended their regular season 21-10 and overall 22-12.