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Slowly but surely, Kentucky pulls away from Tennessee State 77-62

In their third game in six days, Kentucky looked like a team coming off a Thanksgiving feast hangover in their matchup with Tennessee State on Friday night. And again, the Big Blue Nation came away frustrated and underwhelmed.

(Drew Franklin even saw a fan in the Rupp Arena concourse throw away his tickets, vowing to never come back because “this team sucks.” But that’s another story for another time.)

Against yet another team several notches below the Wildcats in overall talent and size, we saw a good bit to like and even more to be desired in the 77-62 victory.

In the “good” column, Keldon Johnson had his best game in a Kentucky uniform, finishing with a career-high 27 points on 7-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds. He was a force on both ends of the floor, locking up the opposition on the perimeter on defense and scoring at will in transition on offense. Johnson was knocking down free throws too (13-18), which is an excellent development for a guy that has struggled at the line all year.

Reid Travis also finished with 13 points on an efficient 4-4 shooting to go with nine rebounds. When the ball went to Travis in the post, he either converted on easy buckets or got fouled to rack up free throws (5-9 on the night).

Beyond those two, no Wildcat scored more than nine points, with the team shooting just 44 percent from the field as a whole. Kentucky also committed 14 turnovers compared to just eight assists, with sloppy ball movement and fumbled passes killing some positive momentum throughout. In the first half, Kentucky continued to jack up forced three-pointers and avoided forcing the ball inside against smaller competition. They figured it out in the second half, but then the defense slipped up a bit.

Down the stretch, Kentucky managed to push the the lead to 19 points, but then allowed Tennessee State to come within 11 with just 4:47 remaining. They could’ve gone for the death blow to finalize the blowout on countless occasions, but just couldn’t convert on both ends of the floor to make that happen.

Here’s the entire box score:


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

19 Comments for Slowly but surely, Kentucky pulls away from Tennessee State 77-62

  1. JusSayin
    9:20 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    I know this isn’t what people want to hear but the team is actually getting better.

    We need to run Herro off screens. PJ shot poorly but I like this new wrinkle of him starting the break off the rebound.

    Defense was much better. We were able to win even while shooting poorly.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      9:23 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      The team isn’t getting better, TSU was the worst team we’ve played so far

    • mashburnfan1
      9:41 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      played a horrible team…..again. Thank you refs, shot 22 more free throws than they did, made 15 more and win by that 15. Just sad we need officiatng help to beat a team of his caliber.

    • mashburnfan1
      9:43 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      Won’t be the worst team we play, have them coming in next. Surprised Cal does not schedule Lex Cath.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:54 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      It’s not officiating help when they were fouling our guys all game. Could’ve been 10+ more calls on them that weren’t called. You all are a miserable bunch of people.

    • Luether
      2:26 am November 24, 2018 Permalink

      The 14 missed FTs are disappointing. As usual, this Cal team will lose some games because of this deficiency…

  2. A_Blue_Wildcat
    9:24 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    Has there been a more disappointing set of returning players than Quade Green and Nick Richards? I mean the more I watch this team the more I realize we are much better when they don’t play.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:56 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      Well if you were here last year you were probably saying the same about Hami. I’m sure you also complain about one and dones, and then also complain about returners. Basically you just like to complain.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:58 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      Oh wait you said set. I guess I should add another name. Hami and Tai.

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      10:15 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      I didn’t count Hami as a returning player because he didn’t play the half year he was there before, but yes he was a disappointment. If you actually think Green and Richards haven’t been massive disappointments so far this year then please tell me your secret to enjoying mediocrity.

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      8:21 am November 24, 2018 Permalink

      My secret is that I realize they are young, learning, and way better than I personally am at basketball. Also, I enjoy cheering for our guys to do good rather than pretend that something important in my life hinges on how well someone I don’t know plays a game.

  3. VirginiaCat
    9:26 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    The team is going to get diabetes based on all the cupcakes we have played lately.

  4. SanDiegoCats
    9:30 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    God you guys are so awful. They’ll be fine.

    • UKPROF
      9:50 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

      Right On Brother! As long as we keep playing teams ranked outside the top 50, we’ll be just fine.

  5. michaelb
    9:30 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    It don’t matter if it’s November or leap year you still can’t do the shit we do . Averaging 4 travels a game . Playing ole defense are things you can’t do in November , Christmas , qwanza, whatever month it is .

    9:48 pm November 23, 2018 Permalink

    I keep hearing that chant in my sleep… O VER RATE ED O VER RATE ED….

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      8:22 am November 24, 2018 Permalink

      I think it is your wife talking about your performance.

    • JASUN74
      1:38 pm November 24, 2018 Permalink

      Lmao. Ohhh! I feel like I’m in school and someone got roasted. That’s ok cause he needed it. Wytawillis! I glad you set him straight. Lol. I don’t understand people giving up on these young men so early. I love everyone of them and they all have different ways to contribute. Call will keep working to mix it all together and BOOM. Don’t give up on these kids guys. U keep up the fight wytawills.