UK, Kansas to meet in SEC, Big 12 game

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Kentucky will host Kansas on Jan. 26 in the headline matchup of the 2019 SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

The one-day event pits all 10 Big 12 schools against 10 of the Southeastern Conference’s 14 members on various campuses.

Other matchups this year include Alabama at Baylor, Arkansas at Texas Tech, Florida at TCU, Texas at Georgia, Iowa State at Mississippi, South Carolina at Oklahoma State, West Virginia at Tennessee, Kansas State at Texas A&M and Vanderbilt at Oklahoma.

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The SEC schools that won’t be participating in the 2019 SEC/Big 12 Challenge are Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri.

The SEC won last season’s event 6-4. It marked the first time in the event’s five-year history that the SEC had finished above .500, though the 2017 Challenge ended in a 5-all tie.


LEXINGTON (KT) — Another coach’s son has officially joined the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team.

Zan Payne, son of Wildcats associate head coach Kenny Payne, has decided to join the team as a walk-on after scoring more than 1,000 points during his prep career at Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington.

The 6-foot-4 Payne averaged 19.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game during his senior season with the Knights but didn’t play after suffering a knee injury in February. He was a three-year starter and scored 1,282 points during his carer, with ranks him 14th in school history. He finished as the school’s fourth all-time leading rebounder with 934 boards.

“I am very excited to a part of the Big Blue Nation,” Payne said. “Over the last eight years, I’ve seen the best of the best players and teams in college basketball come through Lexington, and to be a part of the tradition is a dream come true. For Coach Cal to allow me this extraordinary opportunity, words can’t express my gratitude and appreciation.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Kenny Payne took the same approach with his son that he did with Brad Calipari and each conversation has been “about what’s best for Zan.”

“Let the kid do what’s best for him and be there to support them,” the Kentucky coach said. “We’ve always been an option for him, but we wanted Zan to make this decision on his own. I’m so happy he’s decided to stay at home with us because he’s an underrated talent who is going to bring a lot of depth to our team.”

Calipari said Zan Payne has the same traits as his father that will help him overcome his knee injury and eventually become a contributor.

“Like his dad, he’s got a fighter’s mentality and there is no doubt in my mind he’s going to scratch and claw his way to a role on this team once he gets his knee healthy,” Calipari said. “One of the most gratifying times of my coaching career has been watching Brad grow and develop to the man he is today, and I’m so happy Kenny and Zan gets that experience now. It will be fun to watch.”

Payne joins Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomery and Immanuel Quickley as part of the school’s newest incoming class.