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Kentucky Basketball pulls away from Harvard Crimson: 3 Takeaways & Postgame Banter

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The Cats overcome the hot-shooting Crimson thanks to big games from Hami and Knox.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois-Chicago at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats took the court for the first time in six days as they played host to the Harvard Crimson Saturday afternoon. The Crimson showed heart but it wasn’t enough to bring down John Calipari’s Wildcats. Kentucky pulled away from Harvard in the second half for it’s fifth straight win, 79-70.

Here are three takeaways, the box score and a look at their next game.

Kevin Knox Keeps Leading

For now, these Kentucky Wildcats will go as Kevin Knox goes. Knox was efficient as ever Saturday, netting 7-13 shots for 20 points. With 10:02 left in the second half, the Cats couldn’t seem to pull away without Knox on the floor. However, as he checked in off the bench, it was no coincidence that they erupted for an 8-0 run that put them up 18 points and out of Harvard’s reach. Hamidou Diallo (19 points) also provided a solid scoring effort Saturday afternoon but others will need to improve their game as the season unfolds.

Practice Is Creating Perfection

It was no secret that Bryce Aiken is a special player for the Crimson. However, Calipari sent Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo & Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to highly disrupt the focal point of Harvard’s offense. Aiken had arguably his worst game of the season on Rupp’s hardwood, scoring just 9 points on 2-12 shooting while also coughing it up 4 times. Wildcat freshman P.J. Washington said Friday that Calipari had been focusing on defensive assignments throughout the week. This was a prime example of such focus and will be a great building block going forward.

Free-Throw Shooting

Not only does this team struggle from the line, but they also struggle to score the ball in half court offense. Therefore, every free point they can get is significant. They had their best game of the season in this aspect with 30 attempts and making 25 of those to shoot 83.3%. As they face higher quality defenses, this will be a key factor in putting points on the board.

Looking Ahead

Kentucky will have yet another week off, as they travel to Madison Square Garden next week. They'll face Monmouth in the Citi Hoops Classic on Saturday at 12 P.M. EDT. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is currently giving the Wildcats an 82.2% chance of victory.

For more updates on the Wildcats, check back with ASeaOfBlue.com as well on Twitter with @ASeaOfBlue & @MonJorgan.