Kentucky entered the Round of 32 with a matchup with Buffalo who had just pulled off an upset over Arizona. While things got dicey at times, Kentucky still executed offensively well and was able to get the win, 95-75.
In the first half, Kentucky did a really good job of executing on the offensive end, but rebounding and foul trouble was a bit of an issue as they gave up 11 offensive rebounds. Knox and Sacha both had three fouls, Nick, and PJ both with two.
Kentucky was able to score almost at will throughout the half and had an 18-11 lead with just under 12 minutes to play. However, Buffalo after starting the game 0/7 from behind the three-point line began to heat up some and made five of their next 10.
The Cats would keep it around a 10-point lead for most of the half but struggled a little at the end because of how many players were on the bench with fouls. Despite that, Kentucky was able to take a 51-42 lead into the intermission.
Out of the break, the Cats scored but had a few minutes of lapses and allowed Buffalo to cut the lead to 56-50 at the first media timeout.
For most of the half the Bulls were able to keep it close by knocking down some tough shots over the length of the Cats.
Then with around eight minutes left in the game and the Cats up 72-67 Kentucky completely took over the game. By the under four timeout they had extended their lead to 86-71 and would carry that on for a victory and a trip to Atlanta as they advance to the Sweet 16.
Thoughts on the game
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did Shai things
After a game where Shai struggled shooting the ball he was upset with himself. In this once you could tell he was motivated and he played outstanding. He had 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists while only missing two shots the whole game. After a little slump he bounced back in a big way in this one.
Hamidou Diallo was tremendous
Its not secret that Hami has struggled for a while now and many believed we would need him to make a deep tourney run. Well, Hami showed up today and in a big way. He had 22 points on 9/12 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds, and two blocks. He also had one of the more impressive fast break dunks you will see in this tournament. I am so happy for him and this team will be hard to beat if he keeps it up.
They won without Knox playing well
With Knox getting in some serious foul trouble early it had people worried about the outcome of the game. Due to the fouls Knox was never able to get into a rhythm and didn’t produce much on the floor. Its exciting to see that the team can still perform like they did without much from Knox.
Rebounding was much better in the 2nd half
After the Cats gave up 11 offensive rebounds and were barley winning the rebound battle in the first half they came out in the second and did a much better job. The Cats only gave up two offensive boards in the half and won the rebound battle 42-30.
With this win the Cats advance to the Sweet 16 in Atlanta and will face the winner of Kansas State and UMBC. Celebrate this win BBN!
Here are the postgame notes and milestones, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
· Kentucky is 26-10 overall. Buffalo concludes the season 27-9.
· UK leads the series 2-0. This was the first meeting in the NCAA Tournament.
· Next for Kentucky: The Wildcats will play in the South Regional semifinal on Thursday in Atlanta.
NCAA Tournament Notes
· Kentucky made its national-record 57th NCAA Tournament, extending the NCAA record for most tournament appearances.
· UK owns a 126-50 record all-time in NCAA action.
· Kentucky is 28-6 in NCAA Tournament games under Calipari.
· Kentucky reached the Sweet 16 for the 26th time since 1975 (the first year that all teams in the tournament were required to win at least one game to advance to the Sweet 16), the second-most appearances.
· In Calipari’s eight NCAA Tournament appearances with Kentucky, the Wildcats have reached the Sweet 16 on seven occasions.
o Kentucky advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row.
· Kentucky is a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time, and first time since 2000.
o UK is 3-1 as a No. 5 seed.
· Calipari is undefeated in the NCAA Tournament against teams seeded lower than 10th.
In the First Half
· Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington and Nick Richards for the 16th time this season. UK is 11-5 with this lineup.
· Four of Kentucky’s first nine field goals were dunks.
· Buffalo started the game 4 of 16 from the field.
· Kentucky led by 11 at the 11:29 mark, but Buffalo started making 3s and cut UK’s lead to as little as five, 39-34, at the 5:21 mark.
o From there UK went on a 12-4 lead to open up a 13-point lead, it’s largest of the half, 51-38 at the 1:44mark.
o UK held Buffalo without a field goal over 2:58 within that run.
· Kentucky’s 51 points were its third most in a first half this year.
o UK’s 19 made field goals tied for its second most in a first half this year.
In the Second Half
· Buffalo used a 9-0 run over 2:20 to cut UK’s lead to 56-52, with 15:32 to play.
· UK answered with a 7-2 run over 1:19 to pad the lead back to nine at the 13:42 mark.
· With Kentucky’s lead down to five at 72-67, UK closed the game on a 23-8 run over the last 7:36.
· Kentucky made seven 3-pointers, one game after failing to make a 3 for the first time in 1,047-consecutive games, which was the NCAA record.
· Kentucky’s 95 points were the third most it has scored this year.
· UK’s 36 made field goals were the second most it’s made in a game this year.
· Kentucky limited Buffalo to 38.8 percent from the field.
o UK is now 169-14 under Calipari when keeping the opponent under 40 percent from the field.
· Kentucky shot 56.3 percent from the field today. UK is 14-1 this season when the Wildcats make at least half their shots.
· UK led by as many as 20 points today. The Wildcats are 233-5 under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points during a game.
· Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 27 points – three off his career high – on 10 of 12 shooting, including going 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
· He grabbed six rebounds, dished six assists and had two steals.
· He scored 17 points in the first half, reaching double figures in the first 20 minutes for the fifth time in the last seven games. · It was the most points any Wildcat has scored in a first half this season. · He’s scored 10 or more in nine first halves this season. · He scored 20 or more points for the sixth time, and second time in the last three games. · He played a career-high 39 minutes for the fifth time. · Over the last nine games he’s averaging … · 19.4 points · 54.4 field-goal-percentage · 55.0 3-point field-goal percentage · 5.3 rebounds · 6.9 assists · 1.6 steals
· Hamidou Diallo scored 22 points, one off his career high.
· He reached double figures for the first time since Feb. 24 vs. Missouri.
· It was his most points since he scored a career-high 23 vs. Monmouth on Dec. 9.
· He blocked two more shots tonight after swatting a career-high three against Davidson in the first round.
· Wenyen Gabriel finished with a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
· It was his first double-double of the season and the second of his career.
· He scored in double figures for the eighth time this season and 15th time in his career.
· He grabbed 10-plus rebounds for the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career.
· He made three 3s. He has hit multiple 3s in four of the last five games, and five of the last seven.
· PJ Washington scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
· Kevin Knox scored eight points on 4 of 10 shooting, but he was 3 of 3 on baseline mid-range jumpers.
· He is 8 of 9 on mid-range baseline shots through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
· His four assists tied his career high for the fifth time.
Coach John Calipari
· Calipari has a 719-203 all-time on-court record.
· Calipari is now 275-63 at Kentucky.
· Calipari is 53-17 in the NCAA Tournament games.
· Calipari is 28-6 in NCAA Tournament games at UK.