San Diego guard scores career high to help defeat Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Brandon Johnson led San Diego with a career-high 27 points to stun Kentucky 81-72 on the Wildcats’ home floor on Saturday.
The win was one Johnson and San Diego will cherish.
“I would say this is arguably the biggest win in the history of the school,” head coach Bill Grier said. “As far as going into a place as high-level as this and winning.”
The Wildcats (5-6) were led by freshman forward Patrick Patterson, and Ramel Bradley who had 20 points each.
Rupp Arena was the biggest venue Johnson has ever played in he said.
“It was intimidating (Friday), with no one in the stands,” he said.
Johnson may have still been jittery in the first half when he made one field goal and had five turnovers.
“As a point guard, that kind of hurts,” he said.
But it was Johnson who hurt the Wildcats in the second half though, scoring 22.
The Toreros’ point guard, listed at a generous 6 feet tall, also had eight rebounds in the game.
The Wildcats allowed Johnson to “totally control the game,” coach Billy Gillispie said.
“They ran the game they way they wanted to and we didn’t make them do anything different on defense,” Gillispie said. “We’re not getting any loose balls. We’re not getting any rebounds.”
San Diego (7-8) out rebounded Kentucky, 34-25, and Gillispie estimated that they got eight of 10 loose balls in the first half.
Patterson and Perry Stevenson led the Wildcats with five rebounds each.
“I’m just furious,” Patterson said. “It’s just an awful feeling to prepare for this game, coming off a win and everything clicking together.”
The Wildcats had lost four in a row before beating Tennessee Tech last weekend.
Kentucky fans, some of the most demanding in college basketball, were slowly filing out of Rupp Arena with a few minutes to go in the game, and let out a chorus of boos a few times.
Gillispie was asked during the post-game media conference what he had to say to fans who don’t think the Wildcats are very good this season.
“I couldn’t disagree with them very much with the way we’re playing,” he said.
They did cheer when guards Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper were sent into the game. The two sophomores had missed time this season after injuries.
Jasper had not played this season and Meeks had played in one of Kentucky’s last eight games. Jasper had knee surgery during the offseason, and still limped a little, but had four assists. Meeks had two points and two rebounds.
The Toreros and Wildcats traded leads twice early in the second half but San Diego took the lead for good on a free throw by Gyno Pomare, making the score 44-43 with 13:49 to play in the game. Pomare led San Diego with 12 rebounds.
The Toreros led most of the first half and led at the break, 35-33.
Kentucky tied the game at 31 and 33 but a pair of free throws by Pomare with 3.7 seconds to play gave the Toreros their halftime margin.
The Wildcats’ only lead of the first half was 3-2 after a 3-pointer by Ramel Bradley.