It may not have carried the significance of Alabama’s football victory from Monday night, but the Crimson Tide basketball program notched a big win of its own on Tuesday with an 85-65 win at Kentucky in a big SEC showdown. The victory kept Alabama (10-3. 5-0 SEC) unbeaten in league play while ending Kentucky’s undefeated conference start just as the Wildcats (4-7, 3-1) were generating momentum following a dismal 1-6 beginning to their season. It was UK’s worst home loss under John Calipari.
The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak at Rupp Arena for the Crimson Tide, and although this one came with a limited number of fans allowed inside the historic venue, it was plenty impressive considering what Alabama was missing. When senior forward Herb Jones left the game midway through the first half after appearing to injury his left hand, the Tide was left without its top two scorers as point guard Jahvon Quinerly missed his third straight game due to a medical issue.
Another Alabama starter, Jordan Bruner, left the game in the second half with an apparent injury and did not return after logging just 19 minutes. With three key players out, the Crimson Tide turned to a familiar face in senior guard John Petty Jr., who racked up a game-high 24 points and hit 4-of-7 3-pointers. Jaden Shackelford contributed 18 points and a pair of 3-pointers as the Crimson Tide hit 14-of-30 shots from beyond the arc, including 10-of-22 in the first half.
Kentucky wasn’t fully healthy, either, as freshman guard Terrence Clarke missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury. But even with Clarke out, it appeared the Wildcats might be turning a corner on Saturday when they thrashed Florida 76-58 on the road as sophomore forward Keion Brooks made his season debut. Brooks, who is the only returning rotation player from last year’s UK squad, finished 4 of 12 from the field against Alabama. Freshman forward Isaiah Jackson led Kentucky with 14 points against the Crimson Tide.
The Wildcats were also playing after learning of the Monday death of former walk-on and current Kentucky baseball player Ben Jordan. The Kentucky native appeared in two games for the basketball team last season, and the Wildcats wore warm-up attire emblazoned with his No. 33 on Tuesday.