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Georgetown 52 at Kentucky 121: Post-Game First Impressions

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Kentucky finishes their exhibition season in style, defeating NAIA Georgetown 121-52.

Andy Lyons

Now that the exhibition season is over, it’s time for the Kentucky Wildcats to get themselves ready for the games that count. These have been two easy tune-up games against two quality foes from lesser divisions of college basketball, but it has been useful to give them looks at other teams, in this case two quality NAIA teams, that know how to play team basketball.

A big shout out to the Georgetown College Tigers, who came to Rupp Arena and played very hard against a much bigger and more talented team. Georgetown played excellent defense early, and ran a patient style of offense that made Kentucky work hard to defend them. What Georgetown struggled to do is get clean looks because of Kentucky’s length, particularly inside. Still, they aren’t a top 10 NAIA team for nothing, and it showed.

Box score

Overall, I think we have to be very happy with this effort. Kentucky looked lethargic on offense early, but the defensive effort was consistent throughout most of the game. That makes coaches happy, and it makes fans who closely follow the game equally happy.

Observations:

  • I thought the defense was great, overall. The hustle was notable on both squads, the intensity was consistently high but not frenetic, and I think both teams took advantage of their minutes.

  • The 3-point shooting was much better tonight at 44%. Both Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker were stroking the ball from deep, and that was very pleasing to the eye, making the offense look effortless and unstoppable at times.

  • If Kentucky continues to run the floor like this, it’s going to demoralize teams.

  • Shot blocking was good today, but more impressive was the number of shots that were altered by challenges all over the floor.

  • Devin Booker’s energy was very impressive overall. We saw that during the Big Blue Bahamas as well.

  • I think Trey Lyles can play the three offensively. I’m not sure he can defend the three, though.

  • Dominque Hawkins had a good game, and just keeps getting more and more confident.

  • Free throw shooting was great. It doesn’t look that great on paper, but a lot of the misses came at garbage time. When it was important, they were made.

  • The platoon system has worked as designed for these two lesser foes. It will be very instructive to see what happens against higher quality competition, especially teams that give UK pack-line and heavy doses of zone.

  • The team was unselfish again this game, assisting on 32 of 45 made field goals — 71%.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein is just a nightmare. Of all Kentucky’s players, he should probably scare opponents the most.

Overall, this was another fun game with nothing on the line, so playing well in these isn’t especially useful, although it’s always good to see. Next Friday, they get their first taste of Division I competition, albeit against Grand Canyon Antelopes, a WAC team from Phoenix, Arizona. This is their second year in Division I, but they will still be an upgrade from Georgetown and Pikeville.

We’ll have a more detailed breakdown in the postmortem later.