The Kentucky Wildcats may have eaten too much turkey on Thanksgiving, as they struggled early on offense against Tennessee State. UK survived the sluggish start to win the game 77-62.
The Cats began the game 0-for-8 from downtown before Tyler Herro knocked down the team’s first three-pointer with just under 9 minutes left in the first half.
A 9-0 run by the Cats midway through the first half, combined with 20 free throw attempts helped UK maintain an 8-point halftime lead despite 5 turnovers and 33% shooting.
Kentucky stepped up their defensive intensity early in the second half with 3 steals in the first five minutes and the Wildcats opened up an 18-point lead.
With about 5 minutes remaining in the game, Tennessee State put together an 8-0 spurt with the help of some aggressive full court pressure. Kentucky finally figured it out and was able to halt the run. The Wildcats finished off the Tigers and earned their fifth straight victory.
While Reid Travis appeared to consistently be crashing the boards and altering shots at the rim, Keldon Johnson is going to take home tonight’s MVP. Johnson finished with a career-high 27 points.
Johnson knifed his way through the teeth of the defense all night and seemed to constantly be in the right spot at the right time. Johnson missed both his three-point attempts, but continued to put his head down and get to the rim time after time. He was 13-of-18 at the charity stripe.
Even though Johnson takes home tonight’s MVP, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Reid Travis’ performance as well. Travis finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds. He finished 4-of-4 from the field.
Kentucky was far from flawless and still continues to visibly frustrate Coach Cal with their play on the defensive end of the floor. But, a win is a win and UK has now won 5 straight games.
Who would you have voted MVP?