December 10, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats 88, EKU Colonels 67
The No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats were looking to bounce back from their first loss against UCLA last Thursday night hosting the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in Rupp Arena last night. Kentucky (8-1) had trouble with the Colonels spread offense attack, but got 21 points and 13 rebounds from senior forward Alex Poythress which was key in securing a 88-67 victory. Kentucky still struggled to shoot the ball well going 4 of 19 (21.1%) from the three point line, but were able to hold the Colonels below their season average of 44% and 10 makes from three.
“I just wanted to come in the game and get a quick start.” stated UK forward Alex Poythress. “I wanted to be strong around the rim early and just try to make my stamp on the game.”
Kentucky used 32 to 14 points in the paint in the first half to go into intermission up 50-36 ending the half on a 14-6 run. At the half the Wildcats shot 60.6 percent from the field, while the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky shot 14 of 31 for 45.2 percent. Eastern Kentucky at 8 turnovers at the half while Kentucky turned the ball of 10 times.
Kentucky got 20 points and 10 rebounds combined from Skal Labissiere and Isaiah Briscoe, while Jamal Murray filled the stat sheet with 16 points 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Tyler Ulis looked like himself this game finishing with 9 points 8 assists and 4 rebounds. For the game the Cats shot 54.7 percent, while dishing out 18 assists to 17 turnovers.
Eastern Kentucky (7-3) had 3 players in double figures. JaVontae Hawkins led the Colonels with 19 points 5 rebs, and 5 assists.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
- EKU Dribble Drive: – Kentucky had trouble defending Eastern Kentucky’s dribble drive spread offense. The guards were hard to contain for Kentucky as they were constantly beaten off the dribble and they had trouble finding balance on defensive rotations.
- Player of the Game: Alex Poythress had one his best games in a Kentucky Uniform finishing with his 3rd double/double on the season with 21 points 13 rebounds. 7 of those rebounds were on the offensive end which was great.
- Rebounding Guards – Jamal Murray had 7 rebounds, Isaiah Briscoe had 6 rebounds and Tyler Ulis had 4 rebounds. It’s great to have guards that can get in there in get a rebound for you, but the Cats are going to need their 6″11 post player Skal Labissierre (4) to grab more than Kentucky’s 5’9 guard Ulis, if this team wants to get better as the season goes on.
- Consistent Cats – Isaiah Briscoe is fearless getting to the rim. He had another solid game finishing with 16 points and 6 rebounds with only 1 turnover. Charles Matthews provides great energy off the bench and does a good job at providing an impact anytime he’s on the floor.
- Things to Work On: Kentucky obviously needs to get more physical on defense which includes staying discipline and quit biting on every pump fake. 17 Turnovers are too high for this team who seems to handle the ball loosely at times. Marcus Lee and Skal have to work on keeping the ball up high, instead of putting the ball on the floor for smaller players to get steals. The 3 point percentage as a team needs to get better, because a ranking of 317th in the country will not get in done.
UP NEXT: Kentucky returns to action Saturday afternoon at 3:15 pm against the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-2), who are coming off a 67-54 win against then No. 18 Texas A&M. The game against Arizona St. will be played at Rupp Arena, before the Wildcats travel to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York for a December 19, CBS game with the Ohio State Buckeyes.