The Kentucky Wildcats started off the 2022-23 season with a dominating 95-63 victory over Howard on Monday night.
The impressive performance came without three of their top players available as Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, and Daimion Collins were all out.
Many expected this team would be able to shoot at a high level and game one not only showed their ability to shoot, but it showed that Calipari is evolving on the offensive end of the floor.
Sean Vinsel of Hoops Insight noted that Kentucky took 39% of their shots from three as they made 11 of their 24 attempts (45.8%). Last season, the Cats did that only three times all year.
Kentucky took 39% of their shots from three tonight. They eclipsed that mark only 3 times all last season. The offense is definitely evolving.— Sean Vinsel (@HoopsInsight) November 8, 2022
Kyle Tucker took it a step further, in the team’s second exhibition game, they took 34.2% of their shots from three. All last season, that number was only 27.9%.
In the matchup against Howard, the Cats were forcing a ton of turnovers and getting out in transition as they came up with 10 steals and forced 16 total turnovers.
The turnovers kept the Cats running, but it didn’t stop them from taking threes. J. Kyle Mann noted that Kentucky took 13 transition threes, making 38.5% of those, and that is the highest single game total attempts in the Calipari era.
the TOVs kept them in run outs all night, but they attempted 13 transition threes (hit on 38.5%)— J. Kyle Mann (@jkylemann) November 8, 2022
if im not mistaken (pretty sure im not), 13 is the highest single game total for transition three attempts in the calipari era https://t.co/UYIfwTEHos
Antonio Reeves led the way for the Cats finishing with 22 points, and he knocked down six of his 12 three-point attempts.
After the game, Calipari talked about Reeves’ green light and how he is telling him to shoot if he has any space.
“He just has a knack (for scoring), like I tell him if you have an inch, let it go.”
Through the second exhibition and the season opener, it looks like Kentucky’s offense is evolving and when they play like we saw on Monday night, they will be hard to beat.
Now, let’s see what this team looks like when Tshiebwe, Wheeler, and Collins get back and UK is playing at full strength.