The Kentucky Wildcats welcomed the Marist Red Foxes into Rupp Arena tonight, and has become their custom so far this year, dismissed them rather rudely by the lopsided score of 105-58 for the home team.
A big thank you to the Marist Red Foxes for making the trip from Poughkeepsie, NY all the way to Lexington. The Red Foxes played very hard and gave a very good account of themselves in the first half. Kentucky got serious in the second half and made the margin ugly, but Chuck Martin's team did some damage to the Wildcats by using John Calipari's own Dribble Drive Motion against him, spacing the floor, and utilizing their quickness to get open looks and good kick-outs to open shooters, who in turn knocked down shots.
But the second half was lopsided as Kentucky's defense stepped up and forced turnovers, leading to numerous high-flying dunks and an eventual blowout. Anthony Davis led the way with a double-double, but several other Wildcats had impressive stat lines including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Doron Lamb.
- Kentucky was distracted and very poor defensively in the first half. Calipari got them focused in the second, and they did the needful.
- Anthony Davis was impressive, but you have to wonder how he will fare against more massive players. Against shorter players, there is no hope. He is simply too long and too quick to defend. Game ball.
- Doron Lamb had an impressive offensive game, but he was a flat liability on defense. With that said, I was impressed at how he fought through a really nasty eye injury that almost swelled his left eye shut.
- Darius Miller had a decent-looking set of floor stats, but defensively, he was little better than Lamb, and our senior did anything but impress in this affair.
- Terrence Jones, despite not starting, didn't play horribly. He was hobbled, but gave decent effort. For me, it just wasn't great, but it was not bad for a guy who was up all night and banged up from a car wreck.
- Kyle Wiltjer mostly played well. He needs to work on defense, but overall, you have to like his solid fundamentals and understanding of what he can do versus what his teammates do.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, once again, was great. No, he didn't score a ton of points, dominate the boards, or rule over the game. What he did was what he has done in every game this year -- play good team basketball, and led the team with effort, intensity, and determination.
- I loved the effort that Jarrod Polson brought in relief, especially in the first half. That kid wants to get on the floor, and you know something -- he just might.
- Eloy Vargas played some good minutes and did some good things, especially on the glass -- eight rebounds in total. Shades of Josh Harrellson, Vargas seems to be improving.
- My first version of this somehow forgot to mention Marquis Teague, who I thought played well. He took one really stupid shot, and turned the ball over too much, but he ran the team pretty well and put on a lot of defensive pressure -- some might say too much for a team as thin as UK is a the point.
Calipari will find a ton of things, especially in the first half, to show the guys on tape from the game tonight. That's a blessing, as these guys so dominated Morehouse that they may have though that it was always going to be like that. Now they know otherwise.
But there was really only one half of letdown for this team. The second half was as dominant as any half they have played, and while it's easy for fans like me to pick nits, the reality is this team is still learning how to play together, and they have lots of things to learn. Coach Cal knows this, and so do Kentucky fans. So even though this effort was not as impressive as Morehouse, it was still eminently satisfactory for this point in the season.