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5 more thoughts and postgame notes from UK crushing Louisville

UK puts on a dominant performance against rival Louisville.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky faced off against rival Louisville at Rupp Arena and had a dominant performance as they defend home court with a 90-61 victory.

In the first half, each team started slow struggling to score on each team’s length. With just over 14 minutes left in the half the Cats found themselves down 11-8. But by the under 12 timeout Kentucky had battled to have a 13-11 lead on the Cardinals. With 7:52 left in the half Louisville scored to tie the game at 21 and from that moment Kentucky would go on a 12-0 run to go up 33-21 until Louisville scored again at the 2:07 mark. Kentucky would end the half well as they took a 41-27 lead into the halftime break.

In the second half, Kentucky kept taking it to Louisville and ran away with it. Kentucky jumped out to a 52-33 lead at the first media timeout and continued to build and at one point were up by 32. Kentucky never looked back after the game was tied 21-21 and went on to beat the rival Louisville Cardinals 90-61.

Here are five more thoughts on the game:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was great

This rivalry game has been the showing out party for players in the past. For example, Dominique Hawkins 2 years ago, Tyler Ulis his freshman year at UofL. This year, it was time for Shai. He poured in 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists to lead the Cats to a dominating victory. He may not be the starting point guard, but Shai continues to show why he deserves to get a starter’s amount of minutes each game. He also looks like a prime candidate for SEC Sixth Man of the Year if he keeps coming off the bench.

Kentucky played great defense, finally

Kentucky has struggled on defense at times this season but that was not the case today. Kentucky made Louisville battle for every point and altered a ton of shots and had 5 blocks. In the second half, Kentucky was playing tough defense without fouling as they didn’t commit their first foul until 11:16 left in the game. Kentucky held Louisville to 34.8% from the field and that is a recipe for a win and it showed on the scoreboard. Sure, Kentucky has had some good defensive performances this season, but considering the opponent, this was easily the best.

Kentucky improved on the glass

The last couple of games has been a struggle for Kentucky to grab rebounds and it didn’t make sense why with their height advantage. Kentucky won the rebound battle 44-37 and I saw a lot of guys go up strong with two hands to grab the boards and they hadn’t been doing that in the previous games. This was an area UofL was supposed to have an edge in with a wealth of experienced big men. But the young Cats controlled the paint and kept the Cards at bay for 40 minutes.

PJ Washington finally showed what he can do

So far, this season PJ has struggled when most people believed him to be one of the three best players on the team. Today he showed that he is capable of playing at a high level as he had 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. He also drew some key fouls on Cardinals like Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding, which helped minimize their impact for the whole game. If PJ can start consistently playing at this level, this team’s outlook changes entirely moving forward.

Kevin Knox struggled

Kevin Knox got into foul trouble early and could never get into a rhythm. Knox only scored 8 points on 2/8 shooting before fouling out. However, he did manage to grab 7 rebounds which went a long way to helping us grow the lead. Although he struggled today we shouldn’t be concerned because sometimes you just have a bad game. He will have a chance to bounce back Sunday when they take on Georgia.

Overall, Kentucky played a great game and showed just how good they can be. This game should give everyone confidence in this team moving forward and all of BBN should really start to get behind this team as they begin Conference play. Cats dominate the Cards 90-61 at Rupp.

Here are the postgame notes and milestones, courtesy of UK:

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky improves to 10-2 on the season, while Louisville falls to 10-3.
  • The Wildcats lead the all-time series 35-16, including a 19-5 mark in games played in Lexington.
  • Kentucky’s next game will be against Georgia in Rupp Arena on Sunday to open Southeastern Conference play. Game time is 6 p.m. ET and it will be televised on ESPN. The game is part of a doubleheader with Kentucky women’s basketball, which will be hosting No. 7 Tennessee at noon ET on SEC Network.
  • A season-high 24,228 fans were in Rupp Arena on Sunday.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the 10th time. That lineup has an 8-2 record.
  • Diallo scored the first points of the game for either side. After UK won the tip, Diallo drove the baseline for a dunk. The dunk was followed by a Green 3-pointer as the Wildcats started the game on a 5-0 run.
  • Louisville grabbed its first lead of the game at 7-5 with 17:00 left in the first half as part of an 11-0 run that was broke when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a 3 with 14:51 left in the first half. UK went 3:50 without a point during UL’s 11-0 run.
  • Alexander’s 3 started an 8-0 UK run to put the Wildcats back on top.
  • Kentucky took control of the game late in the first half thanks to a 12-0 run where UL went scoreless for 5:59.
  • The run ended on a pair of free throws from Ryan McMahon.
  • Louisville went without a field goal for 6:39 in the first half from 8:04 to 1:25 mostly during UK’s 11-0 run.
  • The Cards hit just one of their last 12 field goal attempts in the first half.
  • Conversely, the Wildcats hit five consecutive field goal attempts to end the first half.
  • Overall, the Wildcats ended the first half on a 25-8 run to take a 41-27 lead into the break at halftime.

In the Second Half

  • Kentucky started the second half with the ball and Green hit a long 2 from the top of the key to give the Wildcats a 16-point lead early in the second half.
  • Both teams started hot from the field in the second half hitting their first three field-goal tries.
  • Louisville hit its second 3-pointer in the game with 12:42 to go in the second half. That was the Cards first made 3 since 18:06 in the first half.
  • Kentucky outscored UL 49-34 in the second half thanks to a strong performance on both ends of the court.
  • UK shot 56.7 percent from the field in the second half.
  • The Wildcats limited the Cardinals to 40.6-percent shooting in the second half.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky’s 90 points is the most points UL has allowed to a team this season.
  • This was the most points UK has scored against Louisville since earning a 103-89 win in 1992 at Rupp Arena.
  • This was the first time UK has scored 80 or more points against Louisville since its 2001-02 win in Rupp Arena (82-62)
  • This was Kentucky’s largest margin of victory (plus-29) against Louisville since taking down the Cardinals 76-46 on Dec. 18, 1999 in Rupp Arena.
  • The 29-point margin of victory was Kentucky’s second largest this season behind the 107-73 (plus-34) win against UIC.
  • The 29-point margin of victory was the third-largest victory in the series’ history, behind only the 91-57 UK victory in the 1947-48 season and the 76-46 Kentucky win in 1999-2000.
  • Kentucky earned its largest lead of the game at 8:06 of 32 points, which was the largest lead for UK against Louisville in a game in the John Calipari era.
  • The previous high was 18 by Kentucky in the 2010-11 game. The Wildcats won that game 78-63 in the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.
  • The Wildcats’ 3-point defense was strong in the game, limiting UL to just 3-of-25 shooting from long range.
  • This was the first time this season UK has limited an opponent to three made 3s or less.
  • Kentucky shot 80.0 percent from the free-throw line in the game, going 24 of 30, which was its second highest free-throw percentage in a game this season.
  • The previous high was when Kentucky hit 25 of 30 from the charity stripe against Harvard.
  • Kentucky scored 41 first-half points, marking the seventh time in its last eight games it has accomplished that feat.
  • Kentucky is now 8-0 this season when it has a lead at halftime.
  • This was the fourth time this season UK has scored 90 or more points. The Wildcats are 4-0 this season in those games.
  • UK had a big advantage in bench points, 35-13.

Player Notes

  • Quade Green scored 13 points with five assists and three 3-pointers made.
  • His three 3-pointers ties a career high for the freshman, who also hit three from long range against East Tennessee State.
  • He added a career-high tying five assists in the game.
  • This was the fifth time in the last seven games that he has had five or more assists.
  • He has scored 10 or more points in seven games this season.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 24 points, including 17 in the second half.
  • He earned career highs in points, field-goals made and field-goal attempts.
  • He added five rebounds and four assists in the game.
  • He was named the MVP of the game by the Bluegrass Sports Commission.
  • PJ Washington scored 16 points 5-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds.
  • He went a perfect 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
  • He also added two assists and one block.
  • Hamidou Diallo scored 14 points in the game with six rebounds and two steals.
  • He has scored in double figures in six straight games.
  • He has hauled in at least three rebounds in 10 straight games.
  • He has six or more rebounds three times this season.
  • Kevin Knox scored eight points with seven rebounds and fouled out.
  • This was only the second game this season he has not scored in double figures.
  • He has posted five or more rebounds in every game but two this season.
  • This was his first foul out of the season.

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has a 704-195 all-time on-court record.
  • Calipari is now 259-55 at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 15-7 vs. Louisville in his career.