The Cardinals (6-1) won their second consecutive game while the Wildcats (1-6) dropped their sixth in a row to tie for the second-longest streak in school history. This battle for Bluegrass State bragging rights was close throughout and ultimately claimed by Louisville at the foul line.
The Cardinals led 56-49 late in the half before Kentucky rallied to tie the game at 59-all on Isaiah Jackson's second free throw with 1:05 left. After Dre Davis made one of two free throws to put Louisville up 60-59 with 18.9 left, Olivier Sarr’s jumper rimmed out and Davion Mintz fouled Jones on the rebound. The graduate transfer guard made the free throws for a three-point edge.
Brandon Boston Jr.'s wide-open 3-point attempt with a second left bounced off the rim and was rebounded by Jae'lyn Withers, helping Louisville end a three-game series losing streak while extending Kentucky's longest slide in 12 seasons under coach John Calipari. It's the Wildcats' first six-game losing streak since Feb. 5-22, 1989.
Jones made 7 of 16 from the field and had five assists in 38 minutes for the Cardinals, who shot 42% in their final non-conference game before starting Atlantic Coast Conference play next week at Boston College.
“Not many times that you cannot play very well and beat Kentucky,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said, “but I thought that’s what happened today.”
Johnson was 5 of 10, including 3 of 4 from long range, with seven rebounds in 40 minutes, while Withers had nine boards and eight points. Jones and Johnson combined for nine points during a second-half stretch that twice built seven-point leads before Kentucky bounced back.
Mintz had a season-high 19 points including four 3s. Boston had 11 points with seven rebounds and Jacob Toppin 10 with six rebounds for Kentucky (1-6), which had won 11 of 13 in the series.
The Wildcats outrebounded Louisville 40-35 but were edged 27-24 defensively. They also shot 34% and were just 14 of 22 from the foul line.
“Losing still stinks,” Calipari said. "We had our chance and we had some breakdowns. You know, when you’re this kind of team, you can’t afford to have a mental lapse on two or three plays in a row and still go.”
Former College of Charleston guard Zep Jasper transfers to Auburn
Former College of Charleston guard Zep Jasper has transferred to Auburn, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Florida Gators' Keyontae Johnson waiting for medical clearance, won't enter NBA draft
Florida's Keyontae Johnson, who was rushed to a hospital after collapsing Dec. 12, said he's "progressing & steadily making progress daily." He had been projected as a first-round NBA selection at the time but said Wednesday he will not enter the draft.
Sources: Danny Manning to be Maryland Terrapins assistant
Former Wake Forest coach Danny Manning is expected to join the Maryland staff as an assistant, sources told ESPN.