The Kentucky Wildcats’ final exhibition game against Miles College was nearly a post Halloween Horror night (almost).
After the first exhibition game, many were thinking that UK would roll over Miles College, but the problem was no one told their opponent. In the first half this late Halloween scare found the defense seemingly stuck in quicksand and unable to get out and cover the three pointer. MC did not hesitate and set the nets on fire in the first twenty minutes, while the Cats just didn’t get out to cover the shot.
The ghosts of season past lurked and nothing would go right and the Cats just didn’t execute well. Scarier still was that there were gaps where there seemed to be nothing they could do to slow down the unstoppable Miles College. The first half was all Trick against the Wildcats with no Treat at all.
The half ended with the home team trailing 46-39 but when the Wildcats emerged from the locker room in Rupp, they opened up the game and gave all Treats to the home crowd. Taking off on a 22-2 run early in the half, Big Blue Nation watched a team do something that they rarely did last year, let the game come back to them. Methodically and steadily the Wildcats came out and did again what they have promised to do on this Revenge Tour season.
Coach Calipari summarized when it was all said and done, “we’ve got a ways to go.”
But the second half was enough of a treat to remind everyone watching just what this team is capable of. For the game they shot 49.2 % from the field. This featured another dazzling display of the AirCal offense that found the Wildcats literally shoot themselves back into the game (which is something that never happened last season) as they went 11-19 from the arc for a blistering 57.9 %. Mixed in with 37 rebounds, 36 points coming from inside the paint, and 26 points off of turnovers, the Wildcats came to life in the second half. The backcourt of Wheeler and Washington combined for 30 points (15 points apiece) and 12 assists (6 for each player) giving the team solid guard play. Grady added 13 points and Toppin came off the bench for 12 points.
When the night was over the Wildcats had avoided a post Halloween Horror Night and won 80-71. The defense that had allowed so much to happen in the middle in the first exhibition game shut down Miles inside. But this time, as the Cats tune up for Duke they will have to figure out how to escape from the quicksand, get out to cover not only the inside but also the outside.
In hindsight, we saw a few tricks but lots of treats this past week. This upcoming week the games count. The season is here!