The Kentucky Wildcats were faced with a more challenging task Monday night against Morehead State University, as it was once a 3-point game in the second half. However, once head coach John Calipari got the talented, young group to focus & play together, they looked almost unbeatable at both ends of the court.
Kentucky pulled away late to win 92-67 as Hamidou Diallo found his stroke, hitting 2-4 3’s & 5-7 FT’s to aid his 23 points as the team’s scoring guard. Quade Green continued his strong performance from Friday night’s game to tonight, doing more scoring as he totaled 20 points on 6-9 shooting & 7-7 from the FT line. He also dished out five assists with just one turnover. His efficiency rating of 26 was a team-best.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got the start at point, though, and didn’t disappoint. He played a team-high 32 minutes and scored an efficient 17 points on just 4-6 shooting. He took 10 FT’s and made his only 3-point attempt. The lengthy guard added three rebounds, four assists & just one turnover. His play was noticeably more efficient than Friday’s.
Kevin Knox didn’t fill up the stat sheet near as much as he did Friday night. He scored just 16 points by making only 7-15 shots and taking just 2 FT’s. However, his presence as this team’s best player couldn’t be felt more. Knox is truly a once-in-a-generation player for Calipari and will only get better as the competition increases down the stretch.
Kentucky bigs were mostly unimpressive tonight, as PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Nick Richards combined for just 16 points and 15 rebounds. Richards struggled the most, though, failing to record a rebound or point.
The highlight of tonight was no doubt Kentucky’s guard play. The tandem of Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander & Green will be exceptional to watch this season. The front court is too talented to judge after just two outings, too. They’re also too big, in height & in numbers, to not become more productive as the season moves along.
Here are some more postgame notes, courtesy of UK Athletics:
- This was the second of Kentucky’s three exhibition games this season.
- Kentucky is 58-4 all-time in exhibition contests and has won 29 in a row, including 17-0 under Coach John Calipari.
- Kentucky leads the countable series vs. Morehead State 10-0. This is the first time the teams have played in an exhibition.
- This game was not televised. The last time UK played in a non-televised game was Nov. 14, 2015, vs. New Jersey Tech.
- Kentucky returns to the court Friday, Nov. 3 as the Wildcats play host to Centre in the final exhibition game. The game is at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.
- The regular season tips off Fri. Nov. 10 as UK hosts Utah Valley.
- Morehead State has one more exhibition, Mon. Nov. 6 at home vs. Cincinnati Christian.
Kentucky Cares Classic
- This special exhibition game was created to benefit Team Rubicon, which is assisting with people in the United States, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico whose lives have been affected by the recent natural disasters.
- Tonight’s game collected $448,220 in ticket revenue.
- Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Kevin Knox.
- Morehead State’s Lamontray Harris hit a 3-pointer for the game’s first basket. UK took the lead 8-5 on a 3-pointer by Diallo and the Wildcats led the rest of the way.
- Leading 18-16, UK went on an 11-0 run for a 29-16 lead. .
- The Wildcats eventually stretched the lead to 39-23 before MSU got the final five points of the half. UK led 39-28 at intermission.
- MSU steadily chipped away, getting as close as 51-49 with 12:34 remaining.
- Ahead 54-51, UK created cushion with a 12-0 run for a 66-51 advantage.
- The Wildcats led by double digits the rest of the way en route to a 92-67 victory.
- Kentucky took advantage of 26 MSU turnovers for a 30-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
- Four Wildcats scored in double figures tonight. Diallo led the way with 23 points and Green had 20.
- Kentucky shot the ball well, 54.5 percent from the field and 81.3 percent at the foul line.
- In UK’s two exhibition games, the Cats have shot 54.8 percent from the field and 77.4 percent at the foul line.
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