If Kentucky can ever get all of their cylinders firing at the same time, this team might be unstoppable.
As it turned out, Kentucky vs. Lipscomb was another game where one key scorer had a monster day while the other struggled the entire time. Kyle Wiltjer had the first double-double of his career, but Archie Goodwin had a rather quiet day.
Overall, the Wildcats had a (mostly) good first game back after a week of intense practice.
- As mentioned above, Kyle Wiltjer was in beast mode for pretty much the entire game. He finally snapped his shooting slump by going 8-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-9 from behind the arc for 23 points. He also grabbed 12 rebounds (five of them offensive), played solid post defense and had a couple of very nice assists.
- Nerlens Noel had his typical "almost a triple double" stat line (seven points, seven blocks and nine rebounds) to go along with four steals.
- Ryan Harrow still has a ways to go to be the point guard that this team needs, but we saw many more flashes of it today. He only had two assists, but didn't turn the ball over once. Harrow also had some great cuts to the basket for scores that gave the team a much needed offensive boost in the first half (finishing up with 12 points) and was much more vocal than we have seen from him in previous games. He also played some very aggressive defense, something the Wildcats need a lot more of right now.
- Speaking of offense, Kentucky came out in the second half with one of the better displays of offense that we have seen all season, going on a 17-1 run to put the game far out of reach.
- As Kyle Wiltjer was having the best game of his career, the Wildcats' leading scorer, Archie Goodwin disproved my oft-repeated prediction that Harrow's return would greatly elevate his game. He barely managed to score in double figures (10 points on 5-of-9 shooting) and still tried far too much to force the offense, turning the ball over three times.
- Julius Mays was ice cold from the floor, going 1-of-8 (0-of-4 from behind the arc) for seven points.
- Alex Poythress also struggled even though he is usually someone you can count on for a high field-goal percentage, going 2-of-8 from the floor and getting most of his 11 points at the free-throw line.
- Speaking of free throws, the Wildcats once again did poorly from the charity stripe in shooting just 61.5 percent (16-26).
- While many things about the Wildcats looked like they had improved today (particularly with regards to rebounding and ball movement), the defense still seemed to be reacting far more than attacking Lipscomb's offense. This was very apparent in the first half when Bisons forward Martin Smith (18 points, 6-of-9 shooting) torched the UK defense and kept his team in the game much longer than most thought possible.
- Four technical fouls (two on each team) were called, the strangest of which was on Willie Cauley-Stein at the 15:38 mark in the second half. He was initially just called for a personal foul, but the call was made after the whistle had blown the play dead—thus a technical.
- The television play-by-play announcers said that during practice this week, Kentucky head coach John Calipari called Poythress the "Eeyore of the team" for the bashful apologies he offered after missing plays and assignments in practice. Don't worry, Alex, we all have bad days.
All stats via ESPN.com
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