Evansville upsets first ranked team, No. 1 Kentucky

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

A former Kentucky Wildcats player was able to guide his current team to a huge upset. Walt McCarthy went into his former college home to get the win.

The Evansville Purple Aces upset No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats, 67-64, on Tuesday night. There were 19,101 people in attendance at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky to see the upset.

Evansville Purple Aces celebrates its first win over a ranked team, No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats
Evansville Purple Aces celebrates its first win over a ranked team, Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Evansville Purple Evans Athletic Department)

This is the second time to begin the men’s college basketball season that the No. 1 team went down. One week ago to begin the season, the Wildcats defeated then-No. 1 Michigan State Spartans at Madison Square Garden in New York.

According to ESPN’s Stats & Info, Evansville is just the fourth Division I program to win its first-ever road win over an AP-ranked opponent come against a No. 1 ranked team. The last two do it was the Nebraska Cornhuskers over then-No. 1 Missouri Tigers during the 1981-82 season.

In addition, Old Dominion Monarchs also did it during the 1980-81 season over then-No. 1 DePaul Blue Demons. The first team to do it was the Georgia Bulldogs over then-No. 1 Kentucky during the 1954-55 season.

With this win, the Purple Aces are 2-0 on the season. The Wildcats fell to 2-1 on the season.

Since the game was tied at 53 with 8:03 left in the game, the Purple Aces scored 14, while the Wildcats just scored 11.

Evansville led by six points following Noah Frederking’s three-pointer with 4:37 left in the game. Keion Brooks Jr. made a layup to cut the lead to 61-57.

Several possessions later, Wildcats’ Ashton Hagans made a three-throw to cut the lead to three points. However, with 2:26 left, Purple Aces’ K.J. Riley made two free throws to put them back up five points at 63-58.

Hagans then cut the lead to three points at 2:12 following a layup at 63-60. But with 1:41 left, Riley made a two-point basket for a 65-60 lead.

Kentucky then went on a 4-0 run, as Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey made two layups. This cut the Evansville lead to 65-64.

Then with six seconds left, Sam Cunliffe made two straight free throws to seal the win. 

Riley led the team with 18 points. He was just one of two players, who scored in double-figures, as Cunliffe also scored 17 points.

The Purple Aces had 26 points off of the bench.

Quickley led the Wildcats with 16 points. He was also one of two double-digit players, as Maxey also scored 15 points.

Kentucky had just 24 bench points.

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