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Takeaways from Kentucky’s win over Virginia Tech

Saturday’s Kentucky-Virginia Tech game in Rupp Arena lived up to the billing as the two teams battled back and forth the entire afternoon. It was the Cats’ first real home test of the season and they passed it with an A+ grade, edging out the Hokies, 93-86, in a very entertaining contest.

Here are some takeaways from the action…


Virginia Tech is very good.

First and foremost, let’s commend the visiting Hokies because they played well in their first true road test of the season. They’re a top-20 team with some very good players I wouldn’t want to see again. It took everything Kentucky had to eek out the win in front of an energetic home crowd, and it was a big victory for the resume and for the team’s confidence moving forward. Great win for UK. Lots of fun those who saw it.

Calipari asked for more threes, and got more threes.

It was a little over one week ago when Calipari said he wanted to see his team take more three-pointers. “We’re trying to get to instead of 14 or 15, we want to get to about 18, 19, 17, maybe 20 every once in a while,” he said. “We don’t want more than that because that’s not who we are, but we need to have that.”

Today he got 22 three-point tries, which was well above the season average of 13 attempts per game. Even better, the Cats shot 50 percent, hitting 11 of those 22 shots from outside.

Virginia Tech is the best three-point shooting team in college basketball basketball, and they were outshined at their own game as they hit 10 of their 22 tries.

Kentucky has a triple scoring threat in Kevin Knox, Hamidou Diallo and Quade Green.

The trio combined for 58 of the Cats’ points and did most of the scoring in the second half to earn the victory in the end. We knew all along that Diallo and Knox would be go-to guys, but the addition of Green to the scoring group has been a very pleasant surprise. As it stands now, those are three players Kentucky can count on to get a basket.

Quade Green’s sunglasses are awesome.

Once we learned Quade Green would wear dark-tinted sunglasses in the game, it was easy to doubt his ability to hit shots with the new eyewear. I didn’t expect him to take many shots at all; turns out, the glasses did not hold him back as he went 6-for-12 from the field and made two big three-pointers.

When asked about the glasses after the game, Green said, “My glasses are a little dark but I see better in the dark.”

Also of note: Green had five assists to only one turnover.

Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones could’ve done better.

Kentucky didn’t get the best out of its two big men, but Calipari isn’t too worried about it. He noted they’re “not machines” and bad games happen from time to time.

Richards played 22 minutes to Killeya-Jones’ seven in the game, and gave up some easy buckets and surrendered some rebounds that were his to grab.

Hamidou Diallo hit a huge shot to seal it.

Let’s give a special bold sentence and section to Hamidou Diallo’s three-pointer with under a minute to go. Virginia Tech had just cut the lead to two with a three of its own, but Diallo fired right back with a dagger from the corner to put the game out of reach.

Diallo has been great these last couple games and his outside shot is looking much better. He and Knox are playing like superstars.

P.J. Washington and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also played well.

The light is coming on for Washington, who has now had two straight good games. Gilgeous-Alexander did what he’s done all season, and sent his cousin home with a loss, as he promised earlier in the week.

Up Next: UCLA and Louisville.

Buckle up, BBN!

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

22 responses to “Takeaways from Kentucky’s win over Virginia Tech”

  1. dfleming

    Richards did not have a great game, but without him the cats would have lost.


    PJ played poorly. What game were you watching?

    1. Han

      He wasn’t good early, but later Cal played him and Gabriel and PJ got a couple big baskets and defended a late layup to keep us ahead.

  3. Jpcat15

    PJ was not good- probably missed 5 layups and failed to secure 3 or 4 loose balls in his grasp.

    1. Rembrandt

      On the #8 team in the country, PJ Washington is 4th in minutes played, 5th in scoring, 2nd in FG%, 4th in rebounding, and 3rd in assists. If you understand what those numbers mean, PJ is a key player on one of the nation’s best college basketball teams. He is in better condition than he was to begin the season, and he is improving by the week. I never cease to be amazed by the lack of appreciation some of our fans display for our players.

    2. 4everUKblue

      True Rembrandt, some of our fans are among the worst. Thankful it’s a small group.

  4. Jpcat15

    PJ was not good- missed about 5 layups and failed to secure several loose balls.

  5. 4everUKblue

    Quades’s glasses were awesome, I want a pair.


    PJ could have been better but:
    11 points, 5 rebounds,5 assists,2 TOs,1 block,1 steal.

    1. Rembrandt

      Right. PJ is an inconsistent freshman, but he will be a key to our success this year. Much better player than most of our spoiled fans have figured out yet. Same for Richards.

      This team has come a long way. While the other top SEC basketball teams are fatiguing and sputtering now, our team team just keeps getting better. It’s happening in stages, but Camp Cal has helped. This is a good basketball team that will get much better still by February.

  7. Mc12

    PJ was below average. He gave up on a lot of rb opportunities. He did have a few gimme dunks. Richards wasn’t great but he is the only player we have that makes opposing teams think when driving and alters shots

    1. Rembrandt

      Get a life. So PJ Washington is “below average”, huh? I guess that why he had more than 25 scholarship offers including UK, Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, Florida.

    2. EdC

      Rembrandt are you PJ’s brother or father or something? Relax. The guy didn’t say he IS below average. He said WAS below average as in not as good as he normally is.

  8. smray0002

    Aside from the last two defensive stops, Washington’s performance was slightly better than nauseating. Aside from that, this win was great. Virginia Tech is definately worthy of a top 20 ranking at least. Go Cats

  9. UKLugo

    Wait… you think PJ played well?? You may wanna go look at that again. He had a nice recovery and block (after being caught flat-footed for for a basket drive), and a big rebound late in the game. Other than that, he was pretty much terrible.

    1. blueblood4life

      My opinion isn’t much lol but PJ and Richards both need to improve inside especially Washington turnovers and one hand rebounds is killing this kid . But I do believe by March they should be decent on inside .

  10. kjd

    No way that was an A+ performance. Defense needs work.

    1. JTHinton

      Definitely but that will likely be the best offense we play in a long time. Good news is that UCLA and Louisville aren’t as good as VTech

    2. kuhlkat

      That’s for sure

    3. CatesDuncan

      Id say A-

  11. Jpcat15

    Let me be clear. I am a diehard fan and support all the players through the good and bad. PJ is obviously a key component to this squad, and he had a few good moments today. But, I believe he would say he missed too many gimmes today.

  12. henderblue

    PJ is going to be fine. By the end of the year he will prove to be a warrior and key piece to this team in his role. Quade is the pleasant surprise for me. His ability to score in different ways is something I’m glad to see. SGA’S ability to get in passing lanes is a difference maker on the defensive end. My thoughts at the beginning of the year was we didn’t have an elite point guard like years past. But they’re better than I thought. If everyone stays healthy this team is going to get better and better.