Once Kansas lost Udoka Azubuike for the season, it was clear Kentucky was going to have a size advantage in tonight’s game. Despite Dedric Lawson’s best efforts, Kentucky owned the inside, with both PJ Washington and Reid Travis turning in double doubles. Kansas finished with only 20 points in the paint, its fewest in the last two seasons. As Bill Self said afterwards, it was often two Wildcats against one Jayhawk.
“Obviously their bigs played very well,” Self said. “Even Nick [Richards] didn’t play very well but blocked five shots and impacted the game. But Reid and PJ were the dominant players. It certainly was two against one in there a lot.”
Reid kept Kentucky in the game when Kansas went up early, scoring seven points in less than two minutes to pull Kentucky within three. PJ took over in the second half, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds, much to the delight of John Calipari.
“Today, PJ had a spirit about him. He had a spirit about him. He had a confidence about him. There was no tentativeness. I’ve been waiting a year for that.”
Lawson had 20 points and 15 rebounds, but without another player over 6’9″, the Jayhawks just couldn’t handle Reid and PJ, whom Self called “men.”
“We’re obviously very light in the butt, to put it mildly,” Self said. “And going against big heavy bodies, men. You’re going against a fifth year guy, and PJ is beyond his years physically and Nick is as well and of course EJ is going be terrific. Obviously, we’ve got one guy ready to go against that and that’s an awful lot to ask from him.”