The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team bounced back with a win on Thursday night, blowing out South Carolina State 106-63.
Everything clicked for the Wildcats, as they shot better than 57% from the floor, 41% from long range and continued to play sound defense. Kentucky saw 12 players make a basket, including five Wildcats scoring in double figures.
The win was much-needed after head coach John Calipari and his team fumbled their chance of closing out Michigan State — not once, but twice — in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday. Kentucky can also take Thursday night’s momentum on the road with them this weekend when the team heads to Washington for a matchup at Gonzaga.
Tip-off for Sunday’s game out west is set for 7:30 pm ET with live coverage on ESPN.
How many seasons has Kentucky came up short of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament and the main reason being the Wildcats couldn’t make enough long-range shots? If CJ Fredrick can stay healthy, that doesn’t appear to be a worry for this season.
Kentucky’s shooting guard led the way on Thursday night with 17 points and didn’t even have to score over the final 16 minutes of the game. Fredrick made 5-11 shots (3-7 from deep) and swished all of his four free throw attempts. He led the team with four steals and was tied for second in assists with three.
Opponents have to respect Fredrick and his shooting ability, which will make life much easier on his teammates — especially Oscar Tshiebwe when he goes inside the paint. Outside of Fredrick and Antonio Reeves, the Wildcats are somewhat limited from long range. So it was a good sign to see Fredrick stroke it on Thursday night and Kentucky will hope to see him continue to do just that as the season continues to unfold.