The Wildcats' early season matchup against Duke was already a monumental challenge before they learned that starting point guard Ryan Harrow would be unable to play. The young team, however, was still able to make a game of it (and even made it look like they were in control during a stretch in the first half).
Unfortunately, Duke's superior depth and experience proved too much for a Kentucky squad that still has a lot of growing and maturing to do before they are ready to beat the top teams in the nation.
- Alex Poythress had a huge night, scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He was also constantly fighting for the ball under the boards and slashing through the lane, which was often the only thing keeping the Wildcats in the game.
- While Kentucky was not spectacular on the glass, they stayed with the Blue Devils on rebounding (27-27). There was also a notable increase from the last game in the team's hustle and aggressiveness every time a shot came off the rim.
- Nerlens Noel showed that he can be a force on offense, too, scoring 16 points to go along with his nine rebounds and three blocks.
- Just like many predicted (myself included), the Blue Devils were often able kick their shooters out to to the perimeter for uncontested shots. The Wildcats did only a marginal job containing Mason Plumlee (18 points, five turnovers) while still allowing themselves to get absolutely torched by Seth Curry (23 points, 7-of-14 from the floor).
- Jarrod Polson looked great against Maryland, but he got a reality check against the Blue Devils, who consistently attacked him whenever they got the chance.
- Neither team shot their free throws well (Kentucky 66.7 percent, Duke 68.2 percent), but a lot of easy points were left at the line that could have made a huge difference.
Would Kentucky have won this game if Ryan Harrow had been able to play?
- Wildcat alumnus Aminu Timberlake was at the game tonight...and he's still not happy about Christian Laettner stomping on his chest back in 1992 (h/t Matt Jones, KentuckySportsRadio.com):
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