The Cats faced adversity early in this one as Sahvir Wheeler was hurt on a screen and didn’t return to the court.
That wasn’t the only adversity they faced as TyTy Washington also went out with what appeared to be cramps and couldn’t finish the game.
Unfortunately, it was just too much for the Cats to overcome as they fall 65-60 on the road against the Tigers.
Jacob Toppin: The Cats desperately needed someone to step up with Wheeler out and the team struggling to score and Toppin was the guy. In addition to Wheeler, Oscar Tshiebwe picked up two fouls in the first half and went to the bench.
Toppin stepped up and scored 13 points on 6-6 shooting, grabbed 4 rebounds, and had a steal in the first half to keep us in it down just 35-30 at halftime.
Lance Ware: Tuesday was a perfect example of what we are going to see more of when the Cats hit the road in the SEC. Tshiebwe is going to have games where he gets in early foul trouble, and someone will have to step up.
Ware has been a solid backup this season for Tshiebwe, and he gave the Cats some good minutes again tonight with Tshiebwe on the bench.
First Half Kellan Grady: On Friday, Grady was unstoppable as he drilled seven threes to help lead the Cats to a win over High Point. Unfortunately, Grady could not find his shot in the first half of this one as he was 0-6 from three through the first 20 minutes. Thankfully, that didn’t last in the second half.
Bryce Hopkins: The season has not gone well for Hopkins to this point and Tuesday was another example of that. He was one of the first players that Calipari brought off the bench, but he immediately turned it over twice and got called for an over the back then never saw the floor again.
Hopkins has a bright future and will no doubt get better as the season goes, but he is not off to a great start and Tuesday showed that he was not ready for the physicality of SEC play.
Free-Throw Shooting: Throughout this season, the Cats have been a very solid free throw shooting team. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in this one as the Cats shot 10-20 from the free throw line.
TyTy Washington: This season, Washington has made his money by playing off the ball and scoring the ball. With Wheeler out, he had to become the primary ball handler, and he struggled in that role a bit. He finished shooting 2/9 and just had five points.