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Freshmen not fresh meat? Cats win

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First thing to note about the Wildcats' win on Thursday: It was Lindsey Wilson.

Second thing to note: These freshmen are not second options to anyone.

Kentucky opened a bit sluggishly, but erupted before halftime on the way to a 94-54 rout in their exhibition opener against Lindsey Wilson College (KY).

Senior Bobby Perry (17 points on 8-for-14 shooting) and junior Randolph Morris (14 points, all in the first half) led the scoring charge early on for the Wildcats, but the story of the night may be how strong the supporting cast -- especially the 4 scholarship freshmen -- performed.

Jodie Meeks, a 6'5" bulldog of a player who is built like a linebacker, tallied a game-high-tying 17 points, including an eye-opening 3-for-4 from three-point land, and looked like a potential godsend of a replacement scorer. It's the first game, but Meeks' explosive game would be huge for a team lacking experienced depth. He also added 5 assists and took a charge.

At the point guard spot, Junior Ramel Bradley answered some questions about his interest in passing over shooting by leading the team with 8 assists (and no turnovers) to go along with a pair of three-pointers.

Continuing the storyline of the night, his backup, freshman Derrick Jasper, overcame some early jitters and flashed the sort of full-court vision that had folks buzzing in the preseason, tallying 7 assists (but 5 turnovers) and a flurry of late dunks once the game was out of control. Jasper is a very talented player, and we could be thanking the heavens for his recruitment someday soon.

In fact, sharing the ball was a huge part of the game Thursday, as the Cats had an eye-popping 27 assists on 38 baskets. Did any UK game last year, exhibition or not, have so many passes and so much unselfishness?

All in all, it was a fun night of basketball for the Big Blue faithful, who got to see their stars play well, their new guys come on strong and a team that -- after one insignificant game -- looks to have better chemistry and movement than last year's troubled squad.

UP NEXT: South Carolina Upstate (exhibition) on Monday.