The Kentucky Wildcats are now 3-0 in the GLOBL JAM following a 104-92 win over Team Africa to wrap up group play.
After Kentucky did not have a game on Friday, the Cats practiced at Drake’s mansion and had a party there, then were back in action Saturday as they faced off against Team Africa.
Kentucky started out hot against Team Africa by going on a 10-2 run to start out the game. Justin Edwards would score nine out of the first 13 points for the Cats to start out today.
Adou Thiero eventually got it going in the first quarter as well, where he had six points and some nice dunks. Kentucky led after the first quarter 28-17, with Edwards and Thiero combining to score 15 of Kentucky’s 28 points in the first quarter.
Antonio Reeves got hot and ended up being the leading scorer after the first half with 18 points and making five 3-pointers in the first half. Kentucky led at halftime 59-41.
In the third quarter, Kentucky struggled to get the ball into the basket, only scoring 19 scoring points during that quarter, but Kentucky still led by 13 to go into the fourth quarter.
Overall, Africa tried to make a comeback in the second half, even getting it down to single digits, but Kentucky was able to prevail through the help of some clutch shots from Wagner and Reeves.
Here are some things to know.
Antonio Reeves is still a flamethrower
Last Summer, the Big Blue Nation got a chance to see how Antonio Reeves would fit into Kentucky’s offense, and he won MVP of The Big Blue Bahamas Tour.
After a solid 2022-23 season, Reeves decided to come back to Kentucky and has played well so far in the GLOBL JAM. He scored 24 points against Germany, 23 against Canada, and 27 against Africa on 9/14 shooting, including 8/11 makes from deep.
Reeves has shown he is a consistent score. Once he got into SEC play last year, it was smooth sailing for the veteran after a rough start in non-conference play.
With the impact he has made in this tournament, Reeves looks primed for a great season this upcoming year.
As a fanbase, Kentucky is very happy to have him back for another year after things got a little too dicey with his status on the team.
Justin Edwards still finding himself
Justin Edwards had a great first quarter with nine points but ended up with 15 points overall on 5/11 shooting with four turnovers vs. zero assists. He’s shown flashes in the past two games of what he can do for the team after a rough Game 1, whether that be scoring or helping to get rebounds for the team.
Come season time, you could potentially have Edwards in the SEC Player of the Year race while also being a likely lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, so it’s far too early to worry about his ability to live up to the hype of being Kentucky’s top-ranked freshman this season.
Reed Sheppard can do it all
Reed Sheppard continues to show why he will get playing time this year, even if he comes off the bench. Sheppard had 18 points and eight assists today against Africa. He’s also shown he can be a great on and off-ball defender, as he chipped in two blocks.
While Reeves has probably been Kentucky’s best player in the GLOBL JAM, Sheppard is making a case for that title and has easily been the biggest revelation for Kentucky.
Overall, we will more than likely see Sheppard play off the ball this season due to DJ Wagner and Rob Dillingham running the offense, but it’s good to see the London product can run the show effectively as well.
This kid looks primed for a special hoops career and a big Year 1 for a Kentucky team that hopes to get back to making deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. His dad knows a thing or two about that.
Up next, Kentucky will play Sunday night in the Gold Medal Game vs. the winner of tonight’s Team Germany vs. Team Canada game.
What were your biggest takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments section!