The Kentucky Wildcats came out firing on all cylinders Wednesday night in front of a great crowd inside Rupp Arena.
UK jumped out to a 17-6 lead in their first SEC game of the season after just five minutes of play.
Led by Keion Brooks — Kentucky was making shots all over the floor. It was more of the same effortless offense we saw in the games against UNC and WKU.
But not so fast — a completely unexpected 12-0 run by Missouri erased the Cats’ double-digit lead and destroyed the entire vibe of what started out as a really fun half of basketball.
UK’s talent began to prevail as they closed the half on a big run of their own translating to a 44-27 lead at the break.
Kentucky was paced by Keion Brooks who poured in 11 points on 4/6 shooting.
Despite a lengthy stretch of extremely disappointing play, the activity of Keion Brooks is something that Calipari has been clamoring for all season.
The second half featured more segments of uninspiring play sprinkled with some positive takeaways.
Most importantly — Kentucky got the win and started conference play 1-0. The SEC is shaping up to be a fierce race this season so an early slip up at home would have been unacceptable.
It’s also great to see this team continue to win by double-digits even on a night when they’re not playing anywhere near their potential. Kentucky shot an impressive
This probably wasn’t a game you’ll want to go back and rewatch.
But a win is a win.
Next up, the Cats will welcome Tubby Smith back to Lexington when they host High Point on Friday at noon.
I realize Oscar Tshiebwe provided another jaw-dropping 20 rebound performance but stick with me on my choice for game MVP.
Keion Brooks finished the night with 17 points on 7-11 shooting and pulled down 8 rebounds of his own. I even remember him snagging one away from Oscar in the first half. This type of aggressive play is what will keep Brooks on the floor.
In UK’s previous two contests Keion Brooks started the game and then failed to even log 20 minutes. Coach Calipari can be visibly frustrated with his play at times and fans have been waiting for him to breakout.
Tonight he played 27 minutes while impacting the game in a variety of ways.
I’ve been saying for weeks that getting either Keion Brooks or Toppin (or both) going was critical if this team wants to make a special run in March. The entire front-court load simply cannot fall on the shoulders of Oscar Tshiebwe.
Watching Brooks have success should be a welcomed sight for Kentucky fans and I’m sure Coach Calipari was pleased with what he saw.
I’ll be keeping an eye on how he performs over the next few games. Consistency has never been a word associated with Keion Brooks.
He’ll have a chance to fill up the stat book again when an inferior High Point team comes to Rupp on Friday.
RT if your team is 1-0 in the SEC pic.twitter.com/1A2blY4V1T— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) December 30, 2021