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Cal and the Cats recap tough win over Team Africa, plus postgame notes

Cal is having a blast coaching this team.

John Calipari Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats represented America in the GLOBL JAM once again today as they took on team Team Africa. The Cats would have an up-and-down game, leading by as many as 20 points, only for that lead to dwindle down to six late in the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, Kentucky led the whole game and ended up pulling out a 104-92 win.

The Cats were led once again by Antonio Reeves, who finished with 27 points and has led the Wildcats in scoring every game thus far in Canada. They also received huge games from freshmen guards Reed Sheppard and DJ Wagner, who each had 18 points.

The Cats may have struggled a little more at moments than they have before, but head coach John Calipari talked about how good it was for this team to learn to fight and pull out a tough physical game.

Myself and other media members talked to Calipari, Justin Edwards, and Rob Dillingham after the game.

Take a listen.

John Calipari

Rob Dillingham

Justin Edwards

And here are the postgame notes from UK Athletics.

  • This was Kentucky’s third exhibition game of the GLOBL JAM FIBA event. UK will play once more during the tour.
  • The Wildcats return to the court on Sunday vs. the winner of the Canada-Germany game (tipping off at 8 pm on Saturday). That game will tip at 8 pm ET and air live on CBS Sports Network.
  • Kentucky is 149-12 all-time in exhibition games and has won 28 straight. UK is 46-1 in exhibition contests under head coach John Calipari.

First-Quarter Facts

  • Kentucky’s used a third different starting combination in today’s game with D.J. Wagner, Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards, Adou Thiero, and Jordan Burks starting.
  • It was Burks’ first start of the event.
  • Edwards started the scoring with a 3-pointer. He then had a transition dunk and free throw to push the lead to 10-2 with 7:01 remaining.
  • Team Africa pulled to within two at the 5:52 mark, but Edwards responded with his second 3-pointer of the stanza to stretch the lead back to five.
  • The Cats led by 11 (28-17) going into the break behind a 3-pointer from Reed Sheppard off of a gorgeous assist from Tre Mitchell.

Second-Quarter Story

  • After Team Africa cut the score to a seven-point lead for the Cats, Antonio Reeves scored a 3-pointer to silence the run.
  • A Dillingham jumper with 3:29 remaining lifted UK to a 15-point lead at 46-31, its largest of the contest.
  • Reeves made consecutive 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to stretch the lead to 18 with 54 seconds to go.
  • Reeves led all scorers with 18 first-half points and five 3-pointers.
  • Mitchell had five boards, while Sheppard led the way with six assists.
  • Kentucky had 15 assists on 22 made baskets and forced Team Africa into 11 first-half turnovers.

Third-Quarter Tidbits

  • The Cats opened with Dillingham, Wagner, Edwards, Thiero and Mitchell on the floor.
  • The lead swelled to 20 on UK’s first second-half possession off a feed from Mitchell to a cutting Wagner for a layup.
  • A 6-0 spurt by Team Africa cut the lead to 14 and the Cats opted to take a timeout with 6:53 to play in the third frame.
  • A 10-2 run by Team Africa shrunk the advantage to 10, but Mitchell connected on his first 3-pointer of the game to snap the run with 3:32 to go in the quarter.
  • Kentucky pushed the lead back to 16 on a reverse layup from Sheppard with 11 seconds remaining, but Team Africa was able to nail a three at the buzzer and the score was 78-65 at the conclusion of the third frame.

Fourth-Quarter Findings

  • Reeves’ sixth 3-pointer of the game was the fourth quarter’s first points.
  • Team Africa refused to give up and cut the lead to six at 87-81 with 5:20 to play. Kentucky opted to take a timeout to attempt to halt the push.
  • Kentucky responded with a 9-0 run capped by another Reeves 3-pointer to stretch the lead back to 15 with 2:47 remaining.
  • The Cats hit the century mark on Reeves’ eighth 3-pointer of the night.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky forced 13 Team Africa turnovers that led to 13 points.
  • For the tournament, UK is generating 21 points per game off of turnovers.
  • The Cats made 14 3-pointers in today’s contest, most for the tournament.
  • UK is averaging 11 made threes for the week and shooting at a 30.7% clip.
  • The Wildcats won the battle of the boards with 46 in today’s game.
  • UK also edged Team Africa in points in the paint 42-40.
  • Kentucky generated 26 assists on 39 made buckets.
  • The Cats are averaging 25.7 assists per game in the tournament.

Player Notes

  • Antonio Reeves drained eight 3-pointers and led all scorers with 27 points.
  • He is averaging 24.7 points per game over the first three games of the tournament.
  • Reeves is making nearly five 3-pointers per game and connecting at a 58% clip.
  • Tre Mitchell had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in an all-around game.
  • UK was plus-24 with him on the floor.
  • Reed Sheppard posted 18 points, a team-high eight assists and two blocked shots.
  • For the week, Sheppard is averaging 10.7 points, 6.0 assists, 2.3 boards, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
  • D.J. Wagner chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
  • Justin Edwards had 15 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Finally, here are Kentucky’s cumulative stats through the first three games via UK Athletics.