The Kentucky Wildcats moved to 5-0 on the season with an 82-62 victory over Boston University. There were good parts, bad parts, ugly parts and great parts throughout the game before the Wildcats pulled away late.
The Good: Hot Starts and Hot Finishes
Kentucky started the game on fire for the opening minutes. Getting good shots, forcing turnovers, opening up with a 10-0 run before a single minute even came off the clock. While the game got close almost immediately after that, the Cats ended the first half strongly, as well. Up by a single point, Kentucky woke up. The guards got a couple steals to get in transition, where this team is very good, and hot baskets which lead to a 40-33 lead at halftime.
Kentucky started the second half about the same as they started the first half. The guys started playing much more aggressively; the full court press was on and effective, they started enforcing their will down in the post, where they were already dominating with a 30-8 points in paint edge at halftime. All of that lasted through a majority of the second half. The 'Cats would hold a double-digit lead early in the second half and hold that or just under for the most part of the second half. A 13-2 run with under five minutes left in the game gave the 'Cats a nineteen point lead; from there, the Cats would pull away.
The Bad: Allowing Open Perimeter Shots
Boston found themselves with a plethora of open three-point opportunities in the first half, which is their strong suit. Shooting 5-15 from distance in the first, John Calipari was displeased with his guards defending the perimeter. The 'Cats' backcourt showed a certain lack of hustle when fighting through screens which allowed good outside looks for the Boston shooters.
Tyler Ulis and company fixed that up a bit in the second half; Boston finished with eight makes from deep, but the looks were much more difficult to get. These are young kids learning to play the game; the concept of fighting and switching through screens will come with time.
The Ugly: The First Half
Incredibly sloppy first half all in all for the young Wildcats; it is bound to happen every once in a while. After the hot start, Kentucky let Boston right back into the game. With the lead staying close to a one or two-possession game for the most part, and Boston even taking the lead late in the half, the' Cats were consistently lacking energy. Shooting 2-of-11 from three and 4-of-10 from the free-throw line in the first half did not help the cause at all.
A few times here and there Kentucky found their rhythm and would go on a 6-0 or 7-0 run, but the lack of perimeter shooting and energy let Boston U hang around. Kentucky was able to end the half up seven points while shooting 17-34 from the field (50%) so not all was bad.
The Great: The Patient Haitian and his friends
Skal Labissiere is still frowning and learning to be a great player at the college level; you could see Skal's evolution taking effect as he had a heck of a game last night. Skal finished with 16 points 7 rebounds and 3 emphatic blocks. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, Alex Poythress 14, Jamal Murray 12, Isaiah Briscoe with 11 and Marcus Lee with 9 to make up all but five of Kentucky's 82 points.
It was a frustrating game for a while, but in the end your Wildcats extend the nation's longest active regular season win streak.