The Kentucky Wildcats got a bounce back win tonight handling the Utah Utes at Rupp, in their first game without Quade Green. Kentucky played a good defensive game that was much needed after going through troubles the past few weeks, especially after the Seton Hall game.
Keldon Johnson took the reigns as the Wildcats’ best, and most important player, finishing with 24 points on 6/7 shooting from 3. Tyler Herro also seemed to break his cold spell as he added 17 points and was getting the passing lanes all night long.
And in the feel good story of the season so far, Jemarl Baker drills two threes in the final minute for his first points of his career after battling a knee injury.
The key for a great Kentucky team seems to be if they can hit three point shots or not (go figure.) Kentucky made 10/19 three point shots paired alongside a good defensive performance and they looked good. With a tough task next weekend against North Carolina, is this team finally starting to turn some sort of corner?
Here’s what social media had to say about the Wildcats’ bounce back win:
FINAL: Kentucky 88, Utah 61— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) December 15, 2018
Keldon Johnson: 24 points
Tyler Herro: 17 points
Reid Travis: 16 points
Jemarl Baker: 6 points in 2+ minutes (2/2 threes)
Cats: 12/21 threes (57.1%)
Really good performance by UK tonight— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 15, 2018
And now I am excited about Jemarl Baker
Jemarl Baker -- Best UK Three-Point Shooter Ever?— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) December 15, 2018
You gotta love that Jemarl Baker was shooting his damn shot. Been waiting a long, long time to get a chance in the Kentucky uniform. First three was set up for him. The second, he would not be denied.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) December 15, 2018
Back to back triples for Jemarl Baker to start his UK career. pic.twitter.com/1geoJbIxZz— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 15, 2018
Btw, I know we can't make too much of a win against a mediocre Utah team, but I really do think Kentucky will be fine. Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington, Reid Travis all hitting their groove. Next week against UNC is the big one. If they win that - watch out. It's ON at that point— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) December 15, 2018
Calipari looks right at the camera, speaking directly into the homes of the Big Blue Nation, and says he is NOT going to coach a team to shoot 30 threes a game. Wants to win with twos, free throws, break it open with some threes.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) December 15, 2018
Keldon Johnson had the 3rd best 3-point shooting performance ever by a UK freshman (min. 7 att.) (85.7%) and the best since Doron Lamb vs. Winthrop on December 22nd, 2010 (87.5%, 7-8)— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 16, 2018
Kentucky outrebounded 31-23, surprisingly.— Mark Mathis (@markmathisMI) December 16, 2018
Kentucky got 34 pts off 18 Utah turnovers.
This is UK's largest margin of victory in the Calipari era in a game they had a rebounding margin of -8 or worse (27 points)— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 16, 2018
Keldon Johnson tells UK Radio's Mike Pratt & the remaining Rupp Arena crowd his hot shooting owed 'to my teammates believing in me. We were moving the ball pretty well.'— Mark Story (@markcstory) December 16, 2018
Imagine not shooting 100% from 3. Jemarl Baker can’t relate.— Cats BBN (@CatsYouCanine) December 15, 2018
Calipari on Jemarl Baker: "You're here to score. Let that thing go."— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) December 15, 2018
UK shot at least 59% from 2 and 57% from 3 at Rupp Arena for the first time since February 5th, 2013 vs. South Carolina— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 16, 2018
"Calipari said his mission is catch it, shoot, and it's just what he did."— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) December 15, 2018
Well, Jemarl Baker, that looked mighty natural.
How is Jemarl Baker not starting?— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) December 15, 2018
JEMARL BAKER IS THE GREATEST SHOOTER IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL AND IT ISN’T EVEN CLOSE.— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) December 15, 2018
Utah at Kentucky tonight. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/BCHGDk6kYq— Rex Chapman (@rex_rexchapman) December 16, 2018
Jemarl Baker or Steph Curry?!— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) December 15, 2018
Keldon Reid PJ top offensive focuses— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) December 15, 2018
Herro and Baker spot up off them
Hagans and quickley can slash off the spacing from the shooting
Montgomery and Richards hustle and energy
Kentucky had their fewest turnovers in a game at Rupp Arena (6) since February 23rd, 2016 vs. Alabama (4)— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 16, 2018
Gimel Martinez & his family and Henry Thomas and his family now on Rupp Arena baseline having a picture taken of themselves standing together with the playing court in the background. Nice moment for ex-UK teammates— Mark Story (@markcstory) December 16, 2018
Calipari on calling Pitino for the 1993 team’s moment today at Rupp: “I told him you gotta get up here. This thing will be respectful here.” Says he’d like to see Pitino come back here and be celebrated for what he did to revive the Kentucky program.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) December 16, 2018
Nothing new here. Kentucky owns Utah Basketball.— Travis Anderson (@Travis_DTS) December 15, 2018