There probably isn't a worse possible time to play the University of Kentucky than in Rupp arena after a loss to Duke.
Sure enough, the Wildcats came out on fire against a Lafayette team that lost their star player, Dan Trist, in a freak accident during warm ups before the game.
The end result was a Big Blue beat down that helped UK fans start to push the loss against the hated Blue Devils to the back of their minds.
- Nerlens Noel was all over the court, both on offense (15 PTS, 4 AST) and defense (7 REB, 4 STL, 1 BLK). He may have had a reputation as a defensive player when he arrived in Lexington this fall, but Noel's versatility was on full display tonight.
- Alex Poythress once again proved that he is an absolute beast in the paint (22 PTS, 9-10 FGM-A). He was also the only Wildcat that seemed to be able to shoot free throws (4-5 FTM-A).
- Kyle Wiltjer caught on fire in the second half, hitting three 3-point baskets in a row en route to a leading the Wildcats in scoring with 23 points.
- With Ryan Harrow out again, Julius Mays stepped up the in ball distribution department, dishing 10 of the Wildcats' 23 assists.
- Jarrod Polson may not have had a great game against Duke, but he once again reminded us that he will contribute this year off the bench. In addition to a decent stat line (7 PTS, 3 AST, 2 STL), he helped get the offense under control in the first half when the Leopards made their only substantial run at Kentucky's lead.
- Willie-Cauley Stein came back to life from a very lackluster game against Duke. The man crush of my fellow Kentucky columnist, Paul Ables, scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds off the bench.
- Once again, Archie Goodwin had some control issues, although one lead an incredible second half dunk (that was unfortunately waived off as a charge).
- Free throw shooting was horrible (10-16, 62.5 percent). I was hoping it would get better in front of a friendly-home crowd, but I guess not.
Who was the game's best player on offense for the Wildcats?
- As I mentioned at the top of the article, Danny Trist was injured during the team's shoot around before the game (per John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader). He apparently took an awkward step and hurt his ankle.
- John Calipari put John Hood in the game...TWICE!
- Ryan Harrow's absence seemed pretty normal initially, but now it's just gotten strange. There are conflicting reports about why he has not played, ranging from mono to other potential factors that his teammates refer to as a "mystery" (per Jeff Goodman, CBSSports.com). It probably is a combination of being sick and feeling intense pressure, which can run anyone down. Here's to hoping the young man gets back to 100 percent soon.
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