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11-24-19 – Rupp Arena
Kentucky defeated Lamar University tonight in a dominating performance. There were a few bumps in the road, but little to complain about the 81 to 56 Wildcat victory. With Thanksgiving break coming up, this could have been a game that the UK players overlooked. Instead, Kentucky played their most complete game since Michigan State.
Defense was the key to victory tonight, as the Cats held the Cardinals to 56 points and only allowed them to shoot 32% from the field. Lamar’s Davion Buster was the only player that Kentucky struggled to guard. With impressive shooting, he managed to hit 5 three-pointers and tallied 19 points.
Kentucky’s best player tonight was undoubtedly Tyrese Maxey, who scored 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Lamar pulled even with the Cats after a 10-point scoring run in the first half, whereinafter Maxey led the charge and the Wildcats scored 20 straight points that the Cardinals couldn’t recover from.
Calipari stated after the Mt. Saint Mary’s game that he wanted to see his team grab more offensive rebounds. Tonight, he said that they did a good job with this in the first half, snatching 7 offensive boards, but they lost their momentum in the second half, only grabbing three more. He also stated that he expected that to improve after their extended holiday break.
It was the third game in a row that Nick Richards earned a double-double. He ended the game with 10 points and 13 rebounds. With Richards playing so well, Calipari has been compelled to keep him on the court. After stating two days ago that Nick should only play 28 minutes per game, Richards logged the most minutes of any UK player tonight with 35.
The foundation has been laid to begin building a team for March. Kentucky looks to do just that Friday night against UAB. The game starts at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on the SEC Network.