Hunter Dickinson, who led Kansas with 13 points in the opening half, drained a 3-pointer as time expired to end the half that trimmed the margin to 48-41 at the break after the Cats turned it over while holding for the last shot. Dickinson, a transfer from Michigan who considered transferring to Kentucky this summer, led all scorers with 27 points and 21 rebounds in a dominating performance.

Kentucky shot just 33 percent from the field, but connected on a dozen 3-pointers – nine in the first half – and stayed close on the glass despite a size disadvantage. Kansas edged Kentucky 45-42 in the rebounding department.

The Cats led 48-41 at the half and built a 14-point lead in the second half before the Jayhawks came storming back. Kentucky failed to finish strong after holding a six-point lead with three minutes to play.

“Our main mindset coming into this game was to go out there and just have fun,” said Thiero. “Just enjoy the game. Go out, play together as a team, fight, and just have fun playing against them. And I think we did a pretty good job of that in the first half. And then, I think that’s when the age came into everything. We started looking at each other, looking around, trying to figure everything out. And we should have just kept having fun the whole game. And it could have been a different turnout.”

Kentucky’s most heralded freshmen — Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner — had miserable nights. Wagner was 1-for-12 from the field and scored four points. Edwards missed all six of his shots and finished with only one point.

In the opener, Duke defeated Michigan State 74-65 to improve to 2-1 on the season. Michiagn State slipped to 1-2 on the year.


The State Farm Champions Classic will return to Atlanta for the second time next season.

Kansas will take on Michigan State, followed by Kentucky and Duke in the blockbuster doubleheader next year at State Farm Arena.

The site and venue for the 2025 Classic will be announced at a later date. Tickets will go on sale next fall.

GAMETRACKER: Stonehill at Kentucky, 7 p.m. Friday. TV/Radio: ESPN+ and UK Radio Network.