The Peach Jam matchup between Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins lived up to the hype Friday night.
The two UK targets — possibly the two best high school players in the country — started off slow as Calipari and Orlando Antigua looked on. Randle didn’t score in the first half and Wiggins struggled from the field. So Calipari shuffled off at halftime to catch a game featuring Justise Winslow and Marcus Lee, a couple of other UK recruits. He missed quite a show.
Wiggins scored all eight overtime points for CIA Bounce, leading his squad to an 81-80 victory over Randle’s Team Texas Titans in the Peach Jam’s best game yet.
It was the most anticipated contest on the schedule, with several reports that access to the court was cut off early because of an overflow of spectators.
After the slow start, Randle and Wiggins traded baskets, blocked shots and spectacular passes throughout the second half. With the Titans down two points in the final seconds of regulation, Randle grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul while making an off-balance putback. His free throw would have won it, but it clanged off the rim and the two teams went to overtime.
By the time Calipari returned to the court, he couldn’t even get a seat.
Wiggins started the extra period with a long three-pointer over Duke commitment Matt Jones. Randle answered with a powerful and-one on the other end. And then it was all Wiggins. The Canadian superstar finished strong while Randle fouled out midway through overtime.
Wiggins finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks — one of which was an emphatic rejection of a Randle shot. Randle scored 15, with 12 of those coming in the highly entertaining second half. The big Texan added 13 rebounds and once again showed off his passing skills with four assists. But it wasn’t enough.
The victory moved CIA Bounce to 4-0, assuring them the No. 1 spot in the grueling Group C. The Titans dropped to 2-2 and a tie with Howard Pulley, who defeated them earlier Friday behind a 27-point, 8-assist performance from UK target Tyus Jones. Only one of those teams can advance to Saturday night’s quarterfinal round.