Evansville Topples No. 1 Kentucky

Evansville Topples No. 1 Kentucky

Kentucky’s reign as the nation’s No. 1 team will last only one week as Evansville shocked the Wildcats, 67-64, on Tuesday night in Lexington, Ky.

The Purple Aces (2-0), coached by Walter McCarty of Kentucky’s 1996 N.C.A.A. championship team, were in contention from the start. Evansville never led by more than eight points, but it never trailed over the final 11 minutes. The Aces held the lead for 29:31 compared to just 5:44 for the Wildcats.

K.J. Riley and Sam Cunliffe paced Evansville with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Cunliffe, who also grabbed six rebounds, calmly swished two free throws with six seconds remaining for the final points.

Evansville shot only 38.3 percent but won the rebounding battle, 38-35, and made 12 of its 13 free-throw attempts.

Kentucky (2-1) shot 37 percent, its worst effort of the young season. The Wildcats made only 4 of 17 shots from 3-point range.

Immanuel Quickley topped Kentucky with 16 points while Tyrese Maxey added 15, with each making 5 of 12 shots from the field. They were the only Wildcats in double figures. Starting forward E.J. Montgomery missed his second straight game because of an ankle injury.

The Wildcats dropped to 220-31 when playing as the top-ranked team, including 69-8 under Coach John Calipari.

Evansville grabbed the lead at 18-16 with 10:28 in the first half on a 3-pointer by Cunliffe and held it the rest of the half for a 34-30 advantage at intermission. The Wildcats committed 11 turnovers in the half and had four key players — Ashton Hagans, Nate Sestina, Nick Richards and Maxey — out for much of the half with two fouls each.

In the second half, Kentucky finally overtook Evansville at 48-46 with 11:17 remaining, but the Aces answered with 3-pointer by Shamar Givance. They led the rest of the way.

Riley scored nine of Evansville’s final 21 points after the Aces reclaimed the lead.

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