The Cats got off to a very ugly start, but they never let Kansas get too far ahead. They went into the break down 33-30, thanks to the defense keeping it close.
Ashton Hagans’ presence was felt throughout the game. He plays relentlessly on the defensive end of the floor. And he’s turned into a really, really good distributor. Not only that, he hit a couple big-time shots when Kentucky really needed them.
Tyler Herro could not hit a shot, but he absolutely shut down Lagerald Vick. Vick is Kansas’ second best player and best three-point shooter. Herro would not give him an inch of breathing room.
Keldon Johnson had a hard time getting into a rhythm at first, but when he hit Kentucky’s first three of the game early in the second half, he really turned it on. He also hit a couple big shots down the stretch and rebounded extremely well.
UK didn’t get much at all from the bench, which is becoming a problem. The Cats have got to start getting production from guys not in the starting five. For a team that was supposed to have so much depth, Kentucky relies on their starters a little too much. The bench combined to score zero points.
The defense, on the other hand, couldn’t have been much better. Kentucky continues to improve on that end of the floor. And that’s the main reason why they’ve become a legitimate title contender over the last few weeks.
What a win! Three wins over top-25 opponents...in a row! Next up for the Cats is the Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday night. Hopefully, UK comes out focused after the HUGE week.
For the first time ever, I’m giving out a Co-MVP. That belongs to Reid Travis and PJ Washington.
Kentucky knew they had a size advantage and they established their presence in the paint early and often. They didn’t hit a single jump shot in the first half, but they stayed close due to their work inside.
Reid and PJ were both dominant all night long. The Jayhawks had no answer on the glass or the defensive end. The two big men feasted, combining for 38 points and 25 rebounds.
PJ put up his second great game in a row. This time it wasn’t with a combination of paint points and three-pointers, though. He just lived inside. He finished with a double-double, putting up 20 points and 13 rebounds. He had a team-high +/- of 15, as well.
Travis refused to score a bucket unless he got fouled in the process. He lived off of and-ones, just destroying Kansas’ post players. He also finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
What a performance by these two, and what a game by the Cats!