The Kentucky Wildcats were looking to bounce back after their road loss to UCLA the previous week. Kentucky made a statement by putting on a clinic on offense against the sharp shooters of Eastern Kentucky.
It was obvious early on Kentucky would use their size to an advantage over the Colonels. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle 50-25, proving just how much bigger Kentucky really was.
Kentucky's size was even deeper when Marcus Lee found his way onto the court after no information was given on the status of his injury. Lee's presence was prominent on the defensive end, putting together five emphatic blocks.
Even though Kentucky ended the game in a blow out, the contest was much closer for a majority of the game. Kentucky held an 18-point lead at one time in the first half but was cut to 14 at half time. The Colonels would then cut the lead to single-digits multiple times, only for it to extend once more to seal the game.
Kentucky's defense early this season looks both choppy and fantastic at times. The Wildcats have a difficult time fighting through screens almost constantly, but help defense is a must on any drive to the basket. The help defense is the fantastic part, it usually sends shots back at the driving player.
Kentucky was all negatives for a week. Talking about how soft the team is after being exposed by a team with three losses. The Wildcats either blocked all that out or used it to fuel the fire as they came out hungrier than ever.
A boost of confidence for this young team is one of the older players showing up. Kentucky's Alex Poythress has had three double-doubles after only putting up two in his first two full years with the Wildcats. Poythress' 21 points and 13 rebounds put him on the right track to becoming what everyone thought he would be just a year ago.
Photo courtesy of UK Athletics
Kentucky has yet to have 'the game.' This game is a well known moment around the Bluegrass that every John Calipari squad seems to have.
There is always one game at a point in the year everything clicks for the Wildcats. Some teams have the game early, some may have it late.
This team hasn't had that game yet, but they need to do the small things differently and they will finally click.
Alex Poythress- Poythress being at the top of this list is the best sight for a Kentucky fan. The senior had 21 points and 13 boards not even a year removed from his torn ACL injury. After minimal effort at UCLA, Poythress put in extra work and showed flashes of his former self.
JaVontae Hawkins- Hawkins instantly became a pest against the Wildcats. He got Kentucky's Poythress into foul trouble early en route to scoring 19 points with five rebounds and five assists. Hawkins also went down hard in the second half and seemed to be in a lot of pain. He later returned to the court after a few minutes of stretching.
Jamal Murray- Murray bailed Kentucky out on some broken plays, finishing with 16 points, seven boards and four rebounds. The freshmen only shot 6-of-15 to go along with four turnovers. The combo guard has to select his shots and control the ball better if he wants to become an elite player for the Wildcats.
Jarelle Reischel- Reischel did not have the explosiveness he's had the previous games for the Colonels, but he still finished with 12 points and six boards. Reischel only shot 3-of-11 as he was well defended by the 'Cats.
Arizona State at #5 Kentucky, 12/12/15
Eastern Kentucky at Marshall, 12/12/15