UK vs. Morehead State: Wildcats Survive Rough First Half to Beat Eagles 81-70
Morehead State head coach Sean Woods came in with a plan to control the tempo of the game, and that's exactly what his team did for most of the first half and a decent chunk of the second. The Eagles looked in control and not at all intimidated about playing in the legendary Rupp Arena...and for a while, they really did look like the better team.
But in the end, the Wildcats' ability to drive the line, draw fouls and shoot better from the floor (51.5 percent for UK vs. 36.8 percent for Moorehead) was just too much for the Eagles to overcome and come away with the upset.
- Nerlens Noel was an absolute beast on defense, particularly in the Wildcats' first half comeback when he had eight rebounds and four blocks. He ended the game with a total of a 11 rebounds and six blocks to go along with nine points, four assists, and three steals.
- Archie Goodwin may have had some control issues at point guard (more on that later), but he came up big on offense, leading all scorers with 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
- After a slow start, Alex Poythress finally came to life, ending up with 20 points (6-of-12 shooting) and eight rebounds. He also went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
- The Wildcats have had their usual beginning of the year problems at the foul line, but tonight they were a very respectable 31-41 (75.6 percent).
- After scoring the first six points of the game, the Wildcats allowed the Eagles to go on a 16-0 run that saw Kentucky suffer from constant defensive breakdowns and commit six turnovers.
- After overcoming their initial first half miscues, the Wildcats came out in the second half and once again let Morehead State control the tempo, force them into turnovers and beat them down the floor after rebounds. The Ealges were able to take back the lead and stretched it to 42-36 with 17:01 remaining in the game.
- Archie Goodwin began to get his game under control a bit in the second half, but he still had a tough time running the point against the Eagles, turning the ball over four times to match his four assists.
- The Wildcats also struggled a bit from behind the arc, going 0-for-4 in the first half and 2-of-10 for the game.
- Kentucky won the overall rebounding battle 37-31, but were (once again) beaten on the offensive glass 13-8.
- Morehead State's bench outscored Kentucky 29-4.
- When Julius Mays hit the Wildcats' first three-pointer of the game with 11:15 to go in the second half, it extended the Wildcats' streak of games with a three-point basket to 831.
- The Wildcats shot 41 free throws compared to 16 for Morehead State. 17 of UK's free throws were shot by Archie Goodwin (who made 12 of them).
- Late in the second half, Morehead State coach Sean Woods made one of his players on the bench cry (h/t to Sam Henson of EverythingKentuckyOnline.com). According to CSTV's Thomas Beisner, what Wood was screaming was pretty bad (and salty enough that I'm not typing it out here).
- If you're not following the Twitter account of Erin Calipari, the eldest of Coach Cal's three children, you should be. Not only is she hilarious, but she also sends out little gems like this: The most powerful man in college basketball, just lounging at home in his pajamas and eating some dinner.
All stats via ESPN.com
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