It took three games, but the Kentucky Wildcats finally have their first win over a Power 5 opponent following their 73-69 defeat of the Michigan Wolverines in the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase.
Sunday’s game came down to the wire and though it was far from pretty, Kentucky clamped down on defense in the final 1:40 and made enough plays on offense to seal the win.
The No. 19 Wildcats move to 6-2 on the season and avoid falling out of the top-25 rankings.
Fans have to be relieved to see their team finally beat a power-five school, but can also be frustrated with the underwhelming play of their Wildcats early on this season. Through eight games it’s difficult to say what the Kentucky does well as a team.
They’ve struggled to find an offensive identity and a player the team has confidence in to close out games at a high level. Maybe the ladder has been established after Sunday’s game, but it’s hard to know for sure until fans can see it with their own eyes moving forward.
The Wildcats will return to Lexington to host the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday. Tip-off is set for Noon ET and will be televised on the SEC Network.
Kentucky had five players account for 63 of their 73 points on Sunday, but Cason Wallace stood out as the savior late down the stretch in the team’s win. Kentucky’s star freshman nailed a dagger three with just over a minute remaining to put Kentucky up 71-66 and keep the game out of reach from Michigan. He also ignited the Wildcats to an early second half lead coming out of the break, scoring eight points and blocking a shot in the first five minutes.
Wallace finished the game tied for a team-high 14 points and added eight rebounds with five assists. Some players have a “closer” trait to their game, and it feels like Wallace has that ability. As the Wildcats look to improve their chemistry, allowing Wallace to handle the ball late in games could very well improve their offensive efficiency.
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