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Providence Friars 38 at Kentucky Wildcats 58: First Impressions

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This was certainly not the best game Kentucky has played all season, but it was a defensive gem.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats handled their sternest test in since the Kansas Jayhawks game earlier this season today by knocking off the Providence Friars, 58-38. This was a comparatively slow game as the Friars worked intently to get good, open looks. Their decent size helped them do more damage inside than many teams have done lately, and early good perimeter shooting kept them right in the game, down only four at halftime.

Congratulations to Providence, they really gave us a solid game. It’s very difficult for teams like the Friars, who have limited depth, to really deal with the remarkable two-headed monster that is the Kentucky Wildcats. They seem to come at you endlessly wave after wave, and eventually, they get into your legs. When that happens, 4-point leads become 20-point games, and considering the pace of this one, that late lead must’ve seemed like 50. The Friars played well and they made an outstanding percentage from the line, but they just couldn’t score enough points against the absurd length of Kentucky to seriously threaten the Wildcats, and once again, the Wildcats held their opponent to under 20 points in a half.

Final stats

Observations

  • Kentucky took too few threes in this game for my liking. 2-7 is not a good number on either side.

  • Forcing the experienced Friars into 18 turnovers is an impressive feat. Kentucky’s man-to-man defense, and in particular that of the guards, is very tough to handle.

  • UK let the Friars shoot almost 47% from the floor in the first half. That’s not very impressive for a defense that has been devastating this season.  They made up for it in the second half, though.

  • 47.1% free throw shooting will not make anybody happy. Karl-Anthony Towns, in particular, has no excuse.

  • 13 assists on 24 made baskets is acceptable. UK continues to share the ball.

  • I think our point guard play was really good in this game.

That’s all for now. I’ll have a full postmortem sometime tomorrow. I’m still in the fleshpots of Las Vegas doing what people do here, but I’ll try to get it up sometime tomorrow before we turn for home.