The Kentucky Wildcats were back in action tonight as they took on the Carleton University Ravens in the Bahamas, and coasted to a win 118-56.
In what was thought to be the most competitive test for the Cats through the first three games, it ended up just like the others. After a slow start, the Cats then went on a 19-4 run into the under-12 media timeout to blow the game open.
The key? Defense.
After some electric offensive performances in the first two games, this Kentucky team flashed some of their defensive instincts once again. Add in the speed and size in transition, and the first half practically became a track meet.
Once the second half began it continued to me much of the same, as the Carleton Ravens just didn't have an answer to slow down the Cats.
If these three exhibition games have taught us anything, despite the competition levels, John Calipari is going to have his team doing two things; running in transition and playing lock down defense.
Is October here yet?
Sometimes picking this can be something you wrestle back and forth with... that did not happen today as Jacob Toppin and Antonio Reeves were spectacular against the Ravens.
Toppin was phenomenal on both ends of the floor, and flashed the potential that all of Big Blue Nation has been begging to see this week. He finished the game with 27 points on 11/14 shooting from the field, including 5/6 from deep. He also added six assists, two rebounds, two steals, and one block on the night.
After testing the NBA Draft waters this offseason, Toppin returned with the plan to utilize the feedback his received to ensure that he would be a draft pick next season. With his performance today, if that translates over the course of this coming season, he very well might become a high first-round selection.
With his shot creation and confidence in his jumper to go alongside his freak athleticism, the ceiling is very high for Toppin. Tonight was a great preview of what could be for the talented senior forward this season.
For Reeves, the main question surrounding his game coming into Lexington was; how would his skillset translate to this level of basketball?
Well those questions have been answered. Despite competition levels this week, he has continually proven to be a knock-down shooter from deep, while also showing his ability to create his own shot time and time again.
Reeves finished tonight with 23 points on 8/12 shooting from the field, including 5/8 from three. He also added three rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
The confidence he has built this offseason is something that will translate come October, and with the development of his game thus far it could be an exciting season for Reeves in Lexington.