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Kentucky Wildcats 93, Puerto Rico National Team B-Squad 57: Postmortem

The Kentucky Wildcats continue to impress in the Big Blue Bahamas tour.


This was the second time the Kentucky Wildcats have taken on the Puerto Rico National Team B-Squad, and it was quite different from the first time. The first time, Kentucky struggled to hang in for the first half, and exploded in the second. In this game, Kentucky got on top early and never stopped. It was a thumping from start to finish.

Thanks to the PRNT B-team for the game, and the good effort. I know they haven’t played up to par, but if that’s understandable for Kentucky, it’s also understandable for them. The Wildcats were just way advanced over where anyone expected at this point, even the coaches. There’s really not much more you can say.

Calipari’s comment that "You don’t need 40 minutes to prove who you are." He’s right, and those who want more will likely have to adjust their thinking; and from what I’ve seen, they are both willing and able to do just that.

Box score

Team observations

  • The ball seemed to "stick" a little more in the hands of the team today than yesterday, which isn’t what we want but it is certainly understandable in August. Heck, it would even be understandable in November.

  • The defense looked good today, particularly in transition. Where UK continues to have trouble is giving up straight-line drives from the wing, and rotating properly to defend that. Calipari said he hasn’t taught a moment of defense, so that’s fine for now.

  • The 3-point shooting was a bit better today, but honestly, it was irrelevant. Kentucky must’ve had 10 lob-dunks, and they came to and from almost everybody.

  • Kentucky’s fast break was spectacular today, as was their transition offense in general.

  • When things got chippy, Kentucky handled it with great maturity.

  • Communications is still a problem. Marcus Lee failed to call out a screen and almost got Tyler Ulis killed. I guarantee his teeth are still rattling from that one.

  • UK played much less zone today, but when they did, it was effective. Man to man needs more work, and it was noticeably better today.

  • UK outrebounded Puerto Rico 44-24 and outshot them by a significant margin. That’s a recipe for a blowout.

  • Shot blocking continues to be a problem. You’d think UK would be able to get more than two blocks. Puerto Rico had as many.

  • 93 points, wow. If UK had shot more threes instead of dunking the ball every other time down, I think they could’ve had 115.

  • I don’t know how many dunks, but Kentucky had 46 points in the paint.

  • Free throw shooting continues to be pretty bad.  Obviously, that needs work, as does shooting in general from outside the paint.

Individual observations

  • The game ball this time has to go to Alex Poythress. He was just great in almost every aspect, went after and mostly got every rebound, was extremely efficient, and was a leader out there. The only negative was his free throw shooting, which was very poor. Poythress just owned his little fiefdom as if he were an NBA player. 15 points, 10 rebounds, one block and only two turnovers.

  • Tyler Ulis was also outstanding for a freshman. He had four assists, but also three turnovers. Those numbers do not indicate how well he ran the team. He also knocked down an open three.

  • Dakari Johnson was pretty invisible today. He played well, but I thought he could’ve had more of an impact. He had eight points and five rebounds, and I would like to see much more rebounding out of him. He ran the floor really well a couple of times, but not nearly as well as Marcus Lee.

  • Andrew Harrison was fantastic. Our point guard play could not possibly have been better than it was today, and Andrew has learned that you can advance the ball much faster with the pass than the dribble. he’s also getting more help, as Kentucky is running without the ball much more willingly this season than last. Andrew had seven points, six assists, and three turnovers.

  • Derek Willis was simply outstanding. He ran the floor, he defended, he made ally-oops and threes. Nine points on perfect 4-4 shooting including a 3 and a very nice lob assist with the left hand.

  • Aaron Harrison had a very good game today. He made shots, which is what he is supposed to do. 12 points on 4-5 shooting, three rebounds, one turnover and two steals.

  • Karl-Anthony Towns was just about as good today as yesterday. The difference is that KAT looked far less outstanding today because of the other guys playing well. If there is a negative about KAT, he is a bit foul-prone. An efficient 4-6 for 10 points, six rebounds and two turnovers.

  • Dominque Hawkins played a good game, but he was more invisible today than yesterday. Today was really a big guy’s game, with all the lobs and dunks and run-outs. To that point, Hawkins had a couple of those lobs. Hawkins had four points on one of five shooting, four assists and only one turnover, as well as two steals.

  • Marcus Lee was really good in a lot of ways. He challenged shots, he ran the floor like a deer, and dunked — a lot. 6-7 from the field, seven rebounds, one assist and 2 blocks. Zero turnovers.

  • Devin Booker’s shooting is still off, but as excellent players do, he found out how to help his team without making shots. He made some great passes on the break. He was 0-4 from the floor but had three assists and two steals

  • E.J. Floreal and Tod Lanter played, and Lanter drilled a late three on a nice pass from Hawkins. Floreal made a nice layup on a fast break in garbage time.

Tying it all up

This was yet another fantastic game for this Wildcats team that just seems to get better and better on a daily basis. I am really impressed with how unselfish this team is. They have so many weapons, it’s almost hard to keep track of them all. Keep in mind that Devin Booker has been ice cold from the floor. If he’d been making his shots, the scores would be even more lopsided.

It’s great that UK is playing so well so early, but I do worry a tiny bit about their heads not being able to fit back on the airplane going home. I strongly suspect that the Dominican Republic team coming in on Friday will deflate those mugs a bit. If Kentucky wins that one, even by a narrow margin, we really should be impressed. They have some journeymen NBA players on that team, and they will be much bigger, tougher, and more skilled than either of the two teams the Wildcats have played so far.

Tweets of interest

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