After scoring 20 points and leading the Kentucky Wildcats over the Auburn Tigers back in January, Tyler Herro famously said that he prefers hitting big shots “on the road for sure. I just like hitting big shots against people who don’t like us. If they don’t like us, we don’t like them.”
After the Wildcats have won six road games in a row, and seven of eight overall, Herro is certainly backing up that attitude. He has averaged 16.1 points in true road games, and has led Kentucky in points in nearly half of them.
Herro has shot a perfect 23 for 23 from the free throw line in road games, and he has made 16 of 37 three-point attempts, which is good for 43% from deep. He has his 52.3% overall from the field in those games. Four of Herro’s five highest scoring games of the season have come at Louisville (24), Auburn (20), Florida (19), and Missouri (18).
One overlooked aspect of Herro’s game has been his defense. He has almost completely shut down scorers John Petty (six points) of Alabama and Florida’s KeVaughn Allen (11 points). Many of Allen’s points in Gainesville came off of a defensive switch.
Kentucky has seen team after team bring a guy into Rupp Arena that just could not miss. Big Blue Nation has grown to hate many players over the years for their swagger against the Cats, particularly at home.
But it has been a while since Kentucky has had one of those guys. Herro is a player that opposing fan-bases love to hate. If he was on an opposing roster, you’d better believe that Wildcat fans would despise him.
However, since he rocks Kentucky blue, he has become a guy that Coach John Calipari can count on in hostile environments. The biggest road test remaining on the schedule is at Tennessee, where Coach Cal is has lost five of eight since arriving in Lexington.
Can Herro help the Wildcats get back on track in Thompson-Boling Arena? We will find out on March 2nd.
In the meantime, Kentucky needs Herro to step up at home against Auburn and Arkansas in the next two games, especially with Reid Travis now sidelined for a few weeks.