A raucous sellout crowd of over 8,000 people help lead the Cats to a 70-60 victory over UNLV last night in the opening round of the NIT. Jodie Meeks led the way in scoring with 19, and Patrick Patterson pitched in 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Kentucky got scoring help from everyone who played last night, and it looked as if they were playing very relaxed and just overall having a good time.
Perry Stevenson had an excellent game, including one of the best dunks of the year when he took off from just inside the free throw line and dunked over a UNLV player and set off the crowd unlike anything we have grown accustomed to in Rupp Arena. The crowd from all accounts was deafening after this play.
Meeks got back into his rhythm after being held to single digits against LSU for the first time all season. Jodie was 3-for-9 from behind the arc and looked very comfortable shooting the ball. He looked much more like the Jodie we have seen all season than the Jodie of the past couple of games.
Darius Miller continues to show me that he will without a doubt be a star. He had nine points in 23 minutes. Miller plays with confidence and overall just looks like he has a great feel for the offense. He makes the smart play time and time again and rarely makes unforced errors.
Ramon Harris again looked like a much improved player. He had six points, but more importantly he had 10 rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover in 25 minutes of play. Ramon had a couple of big dunks in the first half that really got the crowd going.
Patterson was once again his usual self as he went for another double-double last night. Every night he shows me that he plays just as hard or harder than anyone in the nation. Last night, countless times he was on the floor diving after balls and doing anything he could to help his team to the victory.
A big shout out goes to the crowd last night. Everyone was disappointed with being in the NIT, and after the horrid first five minutes in which we fell behind 9-2 and were seemingly turning the ball over every time up the floor, this crowd could have easily checked out and said here we go again, but they didn’t.
Everything I have read points to all indications that Memorial was rocking like Rupp has not in a long time, and it was definitely exciting to see this fanbase going nuts like they did...for an NIT game.
Look for another post later tonight or tomorrow, and don’t forget to drop by and chat with me here during the first rounds of the tournament tomorrow.
Have a great day.