- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Kentucky flinched with the game on the line.

Kansas took advantage of it.

Unable to secure a couple of key rebounds in the closing minute of regulation, and then struggling throughout overtime, the No. 20 Wildcats fell to the fourth-ranked Jayhawks 90-84 on Saturday night in the premier showdown of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“We’re still learning how to win,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “In the guts of the game, we’re just learning now what it means to win, and the plays you make - and the plays just as importantly you don’t make. Not at winning time.”

Wayne Selden Jr. made plenty of winning plays for Kansas. The junior guard scored a career-high 33 points, seven of them in overtime, as the Jayhawks (17-4) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Wildcats (16-5) by winning their 35th consecutive game at Allen Fieldhouse.

“The kid had to make them and he did,” Calipari said. “Winning players know, ‘I’m not taking a chance. I’m grabbing this thing with two hands.’ That’s what I’m talking about.”

The Wildcats built an eight-point lead midway through the second half before Kansas switched to a zone defense and mounted a comeback. Perry Ellis made the second of two free throws to tie the game 76-all with 9 seconds left, and Tyler Ulis coughed up the ball at the other end before Kentucky got off a shot.

In fact, the turnover gave Frank Mason III Mason a chance for a half-court heave he nearly made.

But when the game went to overtime, Selden simply took over.

He opened the extra session with a couple of free throws, and then on the next trip down drove to the rim and dunked over Ulis and 6-foot-11 freshman Skal Labissiere. Selden added two more free throws later in overtime to help the Jayhawks end the Wildcats’ three- game winning streak.

Ulis finished with a career-high 26 points and eight assists for Kentucky. Jamal Murray added 15 points, Alex Poythress had 13 and Isaiah Briscoe scored 12.

“We came to their building, fought hard the whole game - the whole 40 minutes - and we have to keep our head up for that,” said Ulis, who then slipped out of the postgame news conference feeling ill.

The prizefight-nature of the game was evident from the opening minutes, when Briscoe was hit with a technical foul for winging an elbow during a scrum beneath the basket.

That jumpstarted a back-and-forth affair between college basketball’s winningest programs.

The Jayhawks made the first big charge behind Selden, who had 13 first-half points while helping his team to an early six-point cushion. But Ulis and Poythress were quick to answer, going a combined 10 of 12 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes to help Kentucky to a 46-40 lead at the break.

The Jayhawks were fortunate to be that close.

Ellis, their leading scorer, spent all but 6 minutes on the bench with two fouls, while the Wildcats spent the final 14:09 of the first half in the bonus.

Kentucky pushed its lead to 57-49 early in the second, but that’s when Kansas coach Bill Self mothballed his beloved man-to-man defense for a triangle-and-two. The Wildcats appeared to be confused by the sudden switch to a zone, and struggled to get good looks before the shot clock wound down.

“It made it difficult to get into our normal set,” Poythress said.

Selden’s 3-pointer from the corner gave Kansas a 75-74 lead with 49.2 seconds left, but Murray hit a pull-up jumper a few seconds later to give the Wildcats the lead back.

Ellis was fouled at the other end and, after struggling at the line all night, made the second of two free throws to tie the game. And when Ulis turned the ball over with 2.2 seconds left, the Jayhawks nearly had an improbable victory in regulation when Mason’s half-court heave bounced off the rim.

Turned out the miss merely delayed the celebration for 5 more minutes.

“We’ve taken some shots. We’ve taken some hard losses,” Selden said. “We’ve been battle-tested for a couple of years now, this season especially, and I feel like this is going to make us better.”

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

During halftime, the original 13 rules of basketball set down by Dr. James Naismith were unveiled in Allen Fieldhouse. The document from 1891 was purchased by Kansas alum David Booth at auction for $3.8 million in 2010, at the time the most paid for a piece of sports memorabilia. The rules will reside in an $18 million building connected to the school’s basketball arena.

TIP-INS

Kentucky: Briscoe missed three straight free throws early in overtime. … The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field but just 5 of 23 from beyond the arc.

Kansas: Ellis finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. … The Jayhawks had a 42-31 advantage on the glass. … Kansas still trails the all-time series, 22-7.

UP NEXT

Kentucky travels to Tennessee on Tuesday night.

Kansas welcomes Kansas State to the Phog on Wednesday night.

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