Nov. 14-- CHICAGO_This battle of basketball royalty came down to final minute.
And in the end, Kansas made fewer mistakes-and Jayhawks Malik Newman and Devonte' Graham made their free throws.
Kentucky coach John Calipari was left to go in search of his vocal cords. And Kansas coach Bill Self left Chicago a winner after his team gutted out a 65-61 victory over the Wildcats.
"That wasn't very pretty," Self said. "The first one (between Duke and Michigan State) was much more artistic. But it was a great grind-it-out win. To basically play six guys and be able to pull that off when they're totally gassed, I'm proud of my team."
The two winningest programs in Division I college basketball met in the nightcap of the Champions Classic on Tuesday night at the United Center. Kentucky (2,239 victories) and Kansas (up to 2,219) have combined to appear in 31 Final Fours.
Self has the more experienced squad, and it showed. His team totaled 17 assists and 11 turnovers, while Kentucky had fewer dishes (14) than broken plates (18).
Newman not only made those two late free throws; he stroked a 3-pointer to put Kansas ahead 61-57.
He pulled the trigger without hesitation, saying: "When we're open like that, Coach always says: 'Let it fly.' It felt good and it looked good. Why not take it? It put the icing on the cake."
Kansas' five starters played 175 of the game's 200 minutes after the Jayhawks sat forward Billy Preston. The freshman forward, suspended for the Jayhawks' first game for missing both curfew and class, now has bigger problems.
The suspension was Self-reported, so to speak. Kansas' coach broke the news on his Twitter feed, saying that Preston had been in a "single-vehicle Incident" that raised questions about the vehicle.
"After I learned about the incident, I reported it to our administration," Self said. "The administration determined that we needed a clearer financial picture specific to the vehicle. We (will) hold him out ... until the review is complete."
Without Preston, Self used Mitch Lightfoot. When the 6-8 sophomore awkwardly missed a layup in the first half, a member of the Kentucky band screamed: "Good shot, man, maybe you should go back to your driveway!"
But Kansas mostly found the crowd to its liking.
"I love this place," said Self, now 15 years clear of his three-season stint at Illinois. "I like Chicago. Outside of Kansas City and Wichita, I think our largest alumni base is in Chicago. And they certainly turned out."
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