Another fun night in Rupp Arena in front of 20,000 plus as Kentucky took the court to revenge their loss to Baylor against Boise State with a solid 70-55 victory.
First things first, the start to the game for Kentucky, which I have now kinda keyed in on was good. The team has seem to have broken the slow, ugly, 10-0 deficit kind of start over the last few games. Another thing, rebounding. Baylor out rebounded Kentucky by 16 but not tonight. UK led that stat line 23-12 at the half, 43-27 at the end of game so much better effort on the glass.
One guy who helped that stat, will mention later was James Young who led the Cats in scoring with 17 points, knocking down four three point balls. The offense seemed to run through Young for a portion of the half.
Aaron Harrison started well, contributing 9 points on 4-7 shooting while twin Andrew Harrison, who has received a lot of attention lately, played a quiet but effective half in my eyes. His defense was better, helping off the ball and I did not notice any bad body language like some have been concerned about.
For the Broncos, they played well, hung with UK for the first twenty minutes. Shot a decent 41%, turned the Cats over nine times to just their five. Negative thing for Les Rice’s team was only making three shots behind the arc on nine attempts for a team who averages 91 points per game, that is not good. This being said, heading into the second half Kentucky led Boise State 41-31.
The second half was mostly Kentucky and I believe it was much needed. Extending the ten point halftime lead out to 15 plus, cruising comfortably as the top team should do. Boise St. did put on a very fast 8-0 run late in the half to cut the lead to 11 before UK pushed back and closed out the Broncos out 70-55.
James Young finished with 21 points, team high for Kentucky and also pulled in 8 rebounds. This stat stood out to me as he has not been big on the glass but if he could, that would solidify our inside dominance not only with size but athleticism.
Julius Randle added double-double number eight to his freshman total with his somewhat quiet 15 points, 11 rebounds. He did have some issues at times on the defensive end, but something I expect is not a Julius Randle habit.
Willie Cauley-Stein and his blonde hair played another good game. Finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 9 blocks. He has been playing at another level, one many of the BBN did not know he had. Still needs improvment on offense but thats not what this team needs so WCS has found his roll, team leader and defensive monster.
The twins played good, combining for 26 points, 10-19 shooting from the field. As for our bench, they were there but not there. Alex Poythress and Dominique Hawkins both saw good first half minutes but nothing to show as zero points came from the bench. Hawkins did however play very good defense in which I think thats his roll on this years team. Marcus Lee was out tonight with a stomach virus for the ones who missed that.
One other cause for concern was turnovers with 19 of them. Not one or two guys, this was a team issue as everyone is doing it. This MUST be fixed.
Overall, this was a much needed win tonight against a undefeated and well coached Boise St team. Kentucky coming out struggling or potentially losing this game after the loss to Baylor, the four game stretch they are currently in could have been devastating to the season and this teams morale. I give credit to John Calipari as he had his team ready to play tonight, not overlooking the Broncos. They held this high scoring team to 41 less points than they averaged so thumbs up Cats.
Next up for Kentucky is North Carolina this Saturday, 5:15pm EST in Chapel Hill. CBS will televise the match up as I expect it to be a dog fight. Go Cats!
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