Kentucky basketball loses first home conference game under Calipari, falls to Texas A&M 83-71

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Behind a career high 40 points from guard Elston Turner, the Aggies of A&M (12-3, 2-0) won in their first trip to Rupp Arena as a member of the SEC, 83-71 over the KentuckyWildcats (10-5, 1-1). Turner, a senior guard , finished 14 of 19 from the floor and 6-10 from 3-point range. He scored 25 in the first half, including 9 in the first 6 minutes, to lead A&M to a 5 point half time lead. He was quiet in the beginning of the second half, but hit three 3-pointers and assisted on another, in the final eight minutes to key an Aggie 30-16 run to close the game. Elston also led the team with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and was joined in double figures by Fabyon Harris (14) and Kourtney Roberson (10).

Turner’s effort overshadowed a record setting performance by Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel. Noel finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6 assists, and 4 steals. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he’s the first player to reach those levels in a single game since 1996. Archie Goodwin led UK in scoring with 17, Alex Poythress added 12 points and 6 rebounds, and Ryan Harrow had 14.  

The loss again ignited concerns about the post-season for the Cats, with many national analysts publicly questioning if UK would be on the NCAA tournament bubble. With a lack of quality wins combined with a down year for the SEC, it could leave UK with a shaky resume come tournament time. Still, Calipari has a demonstrated ability to improve teams during the year, and it’s hard to see a 20 win UK team not make the tournament. However, seeding is a legitimate concern. Cats fans should feel ok about making the tournament, but whether losses like these can affect their chances to last past the first weekend.

 

Photo: Flickr/Triple Tri

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