The Kentucky Wildcats kicked off their 2023-23 season tonight as they opened up the exhibition part of their schedule against a local opponent in the Georgetown College Tigers. Despite a solid effort from the Tigers, the Cats were just too much overpowering the veteran team, 92-69.
The first half is likely what we all expected. On offense, this team struggled to find their flow but flashed in transition consistently. Defensively, this team's length bothered the Tigers, but due to some sloppy on-ball and help defense, Kentucky allowed Georgetown to stay right in this game as they headed to the locker room up 35-34.
After a lackluster first half, Kentucky came out with some fire to start the second half, led by Adou Thiero and Antonio Reeves. With some separation on the scoreboard, it seems that the younger guys began to settle in and play with the good pace and spacing we saw over the summer.
It was far from perfect for this Kentucky team tonight, but you could see some flashes tonight of what this team could be in a few months.
One thing we did learn tonight, though, is this... I will take Georgetown College, making another trip to the Fab Four this season.
Kentucky will now turn its attention to a matchup with Kentucky State next week that will conclude the two exhibition games, and the regular season kicks off.
This was a fairly simple choice, Tre Mitchell.
He finished the night with 22 points on 9/12 shooting (4/5 from three). Mitchell also added nine rebounds and two assists.
With such a young roster, this team needed someone to step up when things got tough, and that is exactly what he did this evening. This Georgetown squad was not going to go away, and it was due to the shot-making ability of Mitchell and Antonio Reeves that put some distance between the Cats and the Tigers.
Also need to give a shout-out to Antonio Reeves for his performance this evening.
With plenty of big non-conference games to start the season, it will likely be Mitchell and Reeves pacing this offense night in and night out.
Exhibition game one ✅ pic.twitter.com/KaVPnhCMNv— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 28, 2023
1. This team plays hard for 40 minutes— Matt Sak BBN (@MattSakR2NG) October 28, 2023
2. This team has really high highs
3. This team won’t reach their potential until Justin and DJ do
4. Discipline (getting good shots, making the extra pass, limiting turnovers) will be the first big hurdle of the season
Kentucky’s three guys with college experience — Antonio Reeves, Tre Mitchell, Adou Thiero — combined for 50 points, 17 boards, 8 assists, 6 steals, 5 blocks. They’re the safety net for John Calipari as he tries to walk the eight-freshman tightrope this season.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) October 28, 2023
Tre Mitchell led all Kentucky players with 22 points. Six different Wildcats scored 9 or more points.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) October 28, 2023
Balanced offense, 92 total points as a group, 49% FG overall.
Thiero ... +26— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) October 28, 2023
Edwards/Mitchell ... +16
Reeves ... +16
Wagner ... +14
Dillingham ... +11
Sheppard ... +7
Hart ... +5
Burks ... +2 https://t.co/CUPTR8osio
Through Pro Day, BBM, Blue-White scrimmage, and now the first exhibition, Rob Dillingham has been the best freshman on the team.— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) October 28, 2023
16 points (7-11, 1-1 3P)
Has not only transformed his body, but also his mindset. Going to be special.
Adou Thiero. Burgeoning Glue Guy. https://t.co/fYmprj5nee— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 28, 2023
The days of a talent-laden, veteran Kentucky team destroying anyone in its path are gone. Ky will keep landing top recruits who will stay just a year or two. This team has 8 newcomers, trying to learn to play together. Try to calm down. Good luck to you (and your soul). https://t.co/25nVlN11kD— Big Blue Insider (@bigblueinsider1) October 28, 2023
Seniors Mitchell & Reeves: 34 pts (14/25 FG)— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) October 28, 2023
Frosh Wagner & Edwards: 13 points (5/19 FG)
This has been said repeatedly but it bears repeating: It's going to be hard to keep Reed Sheppard off the floor this season. Not because of his last name. Because of his skill level, feel, and maturity of his game. Just rock solid.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) October 28, 2023
For every amazing Rob Dillingham play, you're going to get a silly mistake right now. Totally worth it as he continues to mature and develop.— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 28, 2023
Making a prediction now...— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) October 28, 2023
Georgetown College is winning the NAIA Championship.
Rob Dillingham put on 20-plus pounds since arriving at Kentucky this summer and is way better than in Canada.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) October 28, 2023
Looks great getting to the rim and finishing. Splashed a late 3.
Dilly with 16 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 7-11 FG in 22 minutes. He’ll have a significant role.
Georgetown College HC Chris Briggs on this Kentucky team... Ton of talent. Great guards. Missing a few guys right now, but you can see the potential. Tre Mitchell's ability to stretch the floor and shoot like that at his size will be really important for them this season.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) October 28, 2023
Tre Mitchell tells UK Radio's Jack Givens & the few remaining fans in Rupp Arena that he likes physical play. "It's part of the game, something I have always enjoyed." Mitchell had team highs of 22 points & nine rebounds for UK in its 92-69 exhibition win over Georgetown College— Mark Story (@markcstory) October 28, 2023
Also, a bonus shoutout to the Kentucky men’s soccer team, who just scored another win over a No. 1-ranked team!!
KENTUCKY men’s ⚽️ beats #1 for the 2nd time this week! Marahall 2-0 on Sunday and WVU 1-0 tonight. May have saved their season with NCAA tournament hopes alive! Wow! pic.twitter.com/fAvoNbtOqq— Troy Howell (@teeroyhowell) October 28, 2023