Exhibition game No. 1 is in the books for the Kentucky Wildcats, who came away with a 92-69 Friday win over the Georgetown College Tigers.
While a 23-point win is acceptable, the first half was anything but, as Kentucky struggled to take a 35-34 lead into halftime before using a 13-2 run in the second half to pull away for good.
A big reason the game was so close in the opening 20 minutes was the Cats being beaten in the paint far too much. At halftime, Kentucky only led the rebounding margin 22-20 and was outscored in the paint 22-18.
Thankfully, Kentucky stepped up in the second half, outrebounding the Tigers 24-12 and winning the paint points battle 28-10.
Still, it was evident Kentucky’s lack of frontcourt depth is evident, but the hope is Zvonimir Ivisic will be able to play soon.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the 7-foot-2 Croatian has not been deemed eligible yet by the NCAA, leaving the BBN to wonder when he would be cleared to play.
After Friday’s game, head coach John Calipari expressed optimism that Big Z will be fully freed soon enough.
John Calipari on Zvonimir Ivisic's NCAA eligibility.— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) October 28, 2023
"I feel comfortable knowing what I know... I even went as far as to call the NBA to make sure his name was pulled on time after his pre-draft stuff, before we went after him, and it was."
John Calipari says there has been no injury with Zvonimir Ivisic since he's been here. He said Big Z would probably be able to play against Kentucky State next week if he's cleared to play by the NCAA. Says he still feels good about that process. No set timetable yet though.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) October 28, 2023
Given the fact that Z just arrived on campus last week, it’s reasonable to think he won’t clear the NCAA clearinghouse for a bit, perhaps even into the regular season, which is just 10 days away now vs. New Mexico State.
The good news is Z can practice, so whenever he’s ruled eligible, he should be ready to come in and give Kentucky 8-10 minutes off the bench.
We can only hope at this point.