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Boston University Terriers 65, Kentucky Wildcats 89: First Impressions

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Kentucky got a stronger challenge than they supposed from a game and talented Boston University team.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, that game didn’t quite go according to Hoyle. The Kentucky Wildcats, after manhandling the Kansas Jayhawks in the Champions Classic, got a genuine challenge from the Boston University Terriers, who came into Rupp Arena 29-point underdogs. The Wildcats won by 24 points, but the game was much closer than that.

Congratulations to the Boston Terriers for a great game. They really challenged the Wildcats in a way that few teams have, and they did it for a good 25 minutes of the game. The Terriers never really got a substantial lead, but they hung around with very sharp offensive execution, outstanding fundamental basketball (particularly rebounding), and sharp 3-point shooting, making several deep, challenged threes. They also rebounded very well on the defensive end. Very impressive effort from a team that looks like a favorite in the Patriot League.

Kentucky, conversely, did not have a good game. They allowed the Terriers to pack the zone down low by not making perimeter shots until late in the second half. When they began to make open looks, which they got a ton of, the game got quickly out of control. Also, the defensive pressure in the second half clearly got to the Terriers, as they wound up with 22 turnovers, 12 in the second half alone.

Game stats

Observations

  • I think we missed Alex Poythress. The absence of his size on the perimeter allowed the Terriers to get into size mismatches with Dominique Hawkins, and they just shot the ball over him. Later in the second half, Calipari put Devin Booker in instead, and it made a big difference in the number of clean looks BU got.

  • Very impressed with Devin Booker’s play today. He almost single-handedly broke the Terrier’s back with five straight points, a wild assist, and a turnover he forced.

  • Karl-Anthony Towns really struggled. That happens. Because freshman.

  • Kentucky wound up shooting 40% from three. Imagine if they had shot 20% like they did against Buffalo. That would’ve made a big difference.

  • Free throw shooting. AAARRGGHH!

  • The platoons went out the window a lot today, and you know, it really didn’t matter. The players got their minutes, mostly. Calipari is a genius.

  • You don’t bitch too much about a 24-point win on the heels of a huge, season-defining win. You just don’t.

Enjoy the victory, Wildcats fans. We get to do this again on Sunday. I’ll have a full-blown postmortem in the morning for you to dig into.