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5 more thoughts and postgame notes from Kentucky’s win over Team Toronto

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Kentucky finishes 4-0 in the Bahamas and has fans excited for the upcoming season.

UK Athletics

The final game for the Kentucky Wildcats on their Bahamas trip was against Team Toronto. It didn’t have the same kind of hype that Saturday night had, but it was interesting to see how the Cats came out.

Right from the tip, you could tell that the Cats had some tired legs as they started a little slow and struggled for the first minutes of the game.

However, with them only up five (20-15), Kentucky finally started clicking better on the floor and pulled out to a commanding lead over Toronto.

Despite the team looking tired after a long trip in the Bahamas and playing four games in five days, the Cats were able to get in a rhythm and jump out to a 39-19 lead at halftime as they had a new energy about them.

After the break, Kentucky continued to play at a high level and was able to maintain a big lead throughout the rest of the game. Team Toronto wasn’t as tough of an opponent as others they have faced this week, and while the tired legs and earlier start time showed in the Cats’ game, they still came away with a dominant 93-60 win.

Thoughts on the game

Kentucky dominated the boards

We know that Reid Travis has been dominating the glass, but he isn’t the only one. The entire team is crashing the glass and it shows on the final totals. Kentucky won the rebound battle 53-36.

As the season progresses, Kentucky will get into games where the boards will determine who will come away with a win so its refreshing to see we have a group of guys that will go up and get the rebound.

Now that the Bahamas trip is over, we have a torturing two months to wait before we get to see the Cats in action again, but this trip without a doubt will have all of BBN excited and ready for the season to roll around.

Three-ball improvements

Seeing how well this Kentucky team is shooting from deep has been a delight, especially after we saw them go 2/20 in Game 1. Since then, the Cats have been on fire from deep, highlighted by 10/22 shooting from three against Team Toronto.

What made it even better was so many guys got into the act. Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green, Reid Travis, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro and PJ Washington all hit threes today. While Herro and Green look like the go-to guys from deep, seeing other guys able to stretch the floor is going to make this team nearly impossible for opponents to stop.

Reid Travis had a much better showing

During the week, Travis has struggled on the offensive end of the floor but has always been dominating the glass.

In this one, he did it on both ends as he finished with 19 points on 7/14 shooting and completed the double-double with a team-high 15 rebounds. It was obvious that the coaching staff wanted to play Travis as much as they could to try and get him going. He played 33 minutes, and I believe that helped him tremendously.

Travis has already established himself as not only Kentucky’s best rebounder but also one of the best in the Coach Cal era. If he can put his offense together, he’ll finish as one of the best to play for Cal.

Quade Green looks great

Green went 1/11 in the first game of the trip and spent the nights in the gym working on his shot and he is looking great.

He finished with 14 points on 6/9 shooting and one thing that he didn’t do last season that he is now is creating his own shot. Last year, we saw a lot of spot up shooting from Green, and it looks like we will see a totally different player on the floor this year.

Green will need to keep it up just to keep a starting spot. He came off the bench this game, which may have provided a little added motivation as he had arguably his best game in the Bahamas.

PJ Washington expanding offense

One thing we heard since PJ decided to return to school was that he needs to show that he can hit outside jumpers.

Well, he is doing just that.

In this one, he went 2/2 from three and was hitting mid-range jumpers as well. If he can continue to do that, not only will it help him get drafted, but it is going to make him extremely hard to guard and help us win a lot of games.

Now, here are the postgame notes from UK Athletics:

  • This was Kentucky’s final exhibition game of the Big Blue Bahamas foreign exhibition tour. The players will return home for a week’s break before returning to campus the following week for the start of fall classes on Aug. 22.
  • UK opens its season with Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12.
  • UK improved to 134-12 all-time in exhibition games and 9-1 in the Bahamas, including a 4-0 mark this trip. The Wildcats went 5-1 in their previous trip to the Bahamas in 2014.
  • Kentucky has won its last 13 exhibition games dating back to Nov. 2, 2014, vs. Pikeville.
  • A total of 5,238 fans attended Kentucky’s four games in the Bahamas, an average of 1,310.
  • The Wildcats won their four games by an average margin of 29.0 points per game.
  • Kentucky shot 49.8 percent from the floor over the four games while holding its four professional opponents to 35.4 percent.
  • UK also dominated on the glass with a 12.5-plus total rebounding margin in the four wins.
  • For a new team playing together for the first time in August, the Wildcats valued possessions well in the Bahamas. UK dished out 68 assists to just 45 turnovers in the four games.
  • Tyler Herro finished as the team’s leading scorer (17.3 points per game). Reid Travis was the leading rebounder (10.3 boards per game), Immanuel Quickley was the leading assist man (4.5 dimes per game with two turnovers) and Nick Richards recorded the best field-goal percentage numbers (.800).
  • Five players (Herro, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, Richards and Travis) averaged double figures in the Bahamas. Quade Green was next with 9.0 points per game.
  • Jemarl Baker missed all four games with swelling in his left knee and EJ Montgomery missed the final three with a lower-back injury. Both are expected to be 100 percent for the start of fall practice.

First-Half Facts

  • Associate head coach Kenny Payne, serving as the head coach for the second time on the trip, went with Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington and Reid Travis as his starting five.
  • Hagans, Herro and Travis made their first start of the four-game tour.
  • UK, as it’s done every game in the Big Blue Bahamas, raced to an early lead. After Team Toronto made two free throws to start the game, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run fueled by a Johnson dunk, a Herro 3 and a Washington jump shot.
  • Coming off the bench for the first time in the Bahamas, Quade Green made an immediate impact with back-to-back 3-pointers for a 13-6 lead. He scored 10 points in the first half, tied for the team high.
  • The Wildcats were great defensively yet again. Kentucky held Team Toronto to just 25.0 percent from the floor in the first half.
  • After Team Toronto pulled within five points at 20-15 after an otherwise sluggish half, the Wildcats woke up with eight straight points for a bit of breathing room.
  • Overall it was a 19-4 run to close the half. Herro contributed seven points during the spurt and finished with 10 for the half.
  • Travis just missed out on a first-half double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
  • Washington was equally as impressive with seven points and six rebounds. He showed off his versatility with two powerful dunks and a 3-pointer.

Second-Half Story

  • The game was never in doubt in the second half as UK raced out to a 13-5 spurt and led by as many as 33 points multiple times (including the final score).
  • The Wildcats outscored Team Toronto 54-41 in the second half.
  • Walk-on Jonny David put a perfect cap on the trip with an “and one” play in the final seconds after the crowd urged Payne to put him in the game.

Team Notes

  • The Wildcats scored 93 points and recorded at least 85 points in all four games.
  • Four players made at least two 3-point field goals as the Wildcats made 10 of 22 overall.
  • Five Wildcats scored in double figures.
  • UK led for all but 1:06 of the game.
  • The Wildcats dominated Team Toronto on the glass, 53-36. UK won the battle of the boards in all four games.

Player Notes

  • Reid Travis posted the second double-double by a Wildcat during the four-game tour with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
  • He had nine points and 10 boards by halftime.
  • He showed off his versatility with two 3-pointers in the second half.
  • His 15 rebounds were the most by a Wildcat on the Big Blue Bahamas trip.
  • UK was plus-35 on the scoreboard with Travis in the game, a team best.
  • Quade Green scored 14 points and went 6 of 9 from the floor.
  • After going 1 of 11 in the first game, Green made 14 of 19 shots over the final three contests.
  • He scored 10 in the first half.
  • Tyler Herro was in double figures for his fourth game with 15 points.
  • He led the Wildcats in scoring in the Bahamas with a 17.3 average.
  • PJ Washington just missed out on a second straight double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
  • He averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the Bahamas.
  • Keldon Johnson scored in double figures all four games with 13 in the finale.
  • He averaged 13.3 for the week.

Go Cats!