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Content by MICHAEL WILLIS / Photo by MONT DAWSON – Sports View America…
After the embarrassing loss to Evansville on Tuesday night you would expect that the Wildcats would be ready to play against Utah Valley tonight. However, that was not the case. The Cats played with only seven scholarship players tonight as Immanuel Quickley and E.J. Montgomery were both injured, but that is no excuse for the lackluster performance.
Kentucky held the lead for most of their 82 to 74 victory and actually gained a 16-point lead early in the second half. The lead was quickly taken away after three straight three-pointers by the Wolverines’, TJ Washington, who had five made three-pointers on the night. Utah Valley cut the lead to one with 3:26 left in the game on another deep three by Washington. The Wildcats were finally able to seal the game after an and-one layup by Nate Sestina.
On ball defense and poor outside shooting were the two concerns that allowed Utah Valley to stay in the game. After having two great defensive showings against Michigan St. and EKU, the Cats haven’t been playing the same on-the-ball defense. This allows the guards to get to rim pulling our big men out of rebounding position.
Kentucky’s three-point shooting was terrible tonight. They ended the game on 1 of 12 (8.3%) shooting from beyond the arc. The inability to hit the three let the Wolverines defend the drive without worrying about the Wildcats making them pay by hitting the open jumper.
The player of game tonight has to go to Nick Richards who recorded his second double-double of the year. He tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds. Aston Hagans also performed well with 26 points.
Hopefully, the return of Quickley and Montgomery will cure some of what ails the Wildcats. The way they have been preforming will not be successful against the Cardinals and the SEC opponents. The Cats take the court again on Friday, November 22 against Mt. Saint Mary’s at 7 pm and can be viewed on the SEC Network.