NCAA Basketball: Kentucky upset by Evansville a week after beating Michigan State

Carrie Guzman
November 13, 2019

Sam Cunliffe scored 17 points, including two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining to silence Kentucky (2-1) and a crowd of 19,101 - most of whom had expected a routine nonconference win from the Wildcats, who were 25-point favorites and had earned the top ranking a day earlier.

Asked after the game where it ranked among the "big moments" for McCarty at Rupp, he replied, "This is at the top".

Evansville led much of the game and answered each Kentucky rally with clutch baskets to grab the lead and then maintain it for the season's biggest upset.

"We started off saying, OK, we're going to punch them in the mouth and not let them punch us in the mouth first", Williams said. "I mean, they deserved to win". Evansville didn't shoot particularly well, hitting 23 of 60 shots and nine of 30 from three-point range, but Kentucky was worse, making just 20 of 54 field goal attempts, including four of 17 from long distance.

Evansville spent 29:34 in front, while Kentucky led for just 5:44. Leading the way for the Kentucky Wildcats was junior forward Nick Richards as he contributed 21 points and 10 rebounds.

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Just last week, No. 1 Michigan State lost the very first game of the season to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Meanwhile, the official Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll had Evansville finishing no better than eighth. "You want to grow from it, you want to learn from it", Calipari said. "We have faith in ourselves as a team and the work we put in and the preparation".

"They are a great team, the toughest team to play us", McCarty told reporters, per

Evansville coach Walter McCarty - who starred for Kentucky in the late 1990s - dialed up an unsurprising gameplan to achieve the upset, slowing the game down (68 possessions apiece) and taking a high volume of 3-pointers (30). Prior to taking the job, McCarty spent five years as an assistant with the Boston Celtics and had a 10-year National Basketball Association career. That trio includes Cunliffe and Artur Labinowicz, who had an assist and layup during the pivotal sequence Tuesday when Evansville retook the lead and blunted Kentucky's momentum. "We've got veteran players; I think we match up with a lot of teams well". "But I believe in my guys".

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