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No. 7 West Virginia blows 17-point lead, loses to Kentucky

| Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, 10:25 p.m.
West Virginia guard Jevon Carter gets around Kentucky forward P.J. Washington during the first half Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia guard Jevon Carter gets around Kentucky forward P.J. Washington during the first half Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Morgantown, W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — No. 7 West Virginia gave up a double-digit lead in the second half and lost 83-76 to visiting Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday night.

Jevon Carter had 26 points for West Virginia (16-5), James “Beetle” Bolden added 17 points and Sagaba Konate had 13 points and seven blocked shots.

Freshman forward Kevin Knox scored 19 of his season-high 34 points in the second half, as Kentucky (16-5) overcame a 17-point deficit. The Wildcats made all 18 of their free-throw attempts after halftime.

Knox scored 12 points during a 21-2 run in the second half, capped by a dunk with 10 minutes, 39 seconds left for a 58-56 lead.

Hamidou Diallo added 13 points for the Wildcats.

Bolden, a Kentucky native who said he had been waiting for this opportunity to play his home-state school, hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 74 with 1:23 left. But West Virginia didn't make another basket.

Knox's 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining put Kentucky ahead to stay. Nick Richards dunked off a rebound with 30 seconds left, and Quade Green and Wenyen Gabriel each made two free throws after that to seal the win.

The Wildcats beat a ranked team for the first time this season and have won two straight since dropping out of the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time since March 2014.

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