Kentucky came into the game Saturday with everyone expecting them to be in a shootout with the 9-1 Virginia Tech Hokies, and that is exactly what happened.
Coming into the game, we knew Kentucky must limit the amount of open three-point shots because of how well VA Tech can shoot. However, no one expected the Cats to be so hot from behind the arc like they were.
Each team made their own runs is the first half and Kentucky found themselves down 18-16 at the under 12 TV timeout.
Kentucky would battle to take back the lead late in the half, but VA Tech had the last run and went into the halftime locker room with a 47-41 lead over Kentucky.
Kentucky came out of the locker room strong and scored 13 quick points in the first 4 minutes to take back the lead 54-51.
These two teams would battle it out each making runs, but in the end Kentucky was able to make the last run and pull away down the stretch to move to 9-1 on the season with a 93-86 victory over a good VA Tech team that is good enough to be ranked in the top 25.
5 thoughts on the game
Diallo continues to play well and did it from 3 in this one
After Diallo started the season a little sluggish he figured out his role and how to maximize his performance on the floor. He has scored at least 19 points in 5 straight games and against VA Tech he did it in a different fashion.
HAMIDOU BLEEPING DIALLO pic.twitter.com/FfqbICTFS8— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2017
Diallo was 4/7 from behind the arc as he went for 20, including two big threes in the clutches to help push Kentucky to the victory. If Diallo can start consistently hitting threes like that it will add a new dynamic to his game and make this team even more difficult to beat.
Kevin Knox bounced back
After Kevin Knox struggled in the game against Monmouth, going 1/9 from the field and just 4 points he was able to bounce back.
Kevin Knox showing out now. pic.twitter.com/vseFqO12Ot— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2017
Knox scored 21 points on 7/15 shooting and was the one who got the team rolling in the second half for the quick 13-point surge to retake the lead.
Wenyen Gabriel did exactly what he needs to
Gabriel is not the type of player that is going to lead this team in scoring, and we don’t need him to be that guy. This game was a prime example of what we need him to be. Someone that can come in and provide energy and grab rebounds and score a little. Gabriel scored 7 points and grabbed 9 boards in the victory and that is the type of play we need from him going forward.
Rebounding was not ideal
Kentucky was able to win the rebounding battle but not by much 33-30. Kentucky was a lot longer than VA Tech and should have had a field day on the glass with their size advantage. For a while VA Tech’s biggest player on the floor was 6’6 and we still struggled to grab boards. That needs to be improved as the competition continues to get tougher.
Kentucky was lights out from 3
Entering the game, all the talk was about how well VA Tech shoots the three. To this point the Cats have struggled with scoring from deep.
However, against VA Tech Kentucky was 11/22 (50%) from behind the arc and actually made more threes than VA Tech (10) did.
Quade Green still feeling it pic.twitter.com/4jcStm7zx9— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2017
The three ball would make this team's ceiling much higher than it already is.
PJ Washington gets himself a 3 pointer. pic.twitter.com/lDvU0fmlWM— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2017
Offensively the Cats played a great game but struggled on defense in the half court as the Hokies could get to the rim with ease. Overall, this is a good quality win for the Cats and they showed that they can score down the stretch to get the win in a close game.
Cats get the win 93-86 over a talented Virginia Tech team!