Going into the year, especially after his impressive scoring display in the Bahamas, we knew Kentucky guard Tyler Herro would be one of the team’s best shot-makers and quite possibly the Wildcats’ leading scorer.
Tonight, the talented freshman shooting guard out of Wisconsin produced yet another impressive scoring performance against SEC rival Florida.
Herro finished with a game-high 19 points on a ridiculously efficient 6-of-8 shooting, including three of four makes from beyond the arc. It was his 16th game of the season finishing in double-figures and seventh game with three or more made three-pointers. To put the icing on the cake, Herro (4-4 tonight) has converted on 28 consecutive attempts from the free throw line. (For the record, he’s now 41 of 45 on the year, good for 91.1 percent on the year. Kyle Macy holds the career record at UK with 91.2 percent, followed by Travis Ford at 91.1 percent)
When you take a closer look at the numbers, however, you may notice something very interesting about his scoring output throughout the year.
At home, Herro is averaging a solid 13.27 points per game. Certainly nothing to scoff at considering Kentucky’s leading scorer, Keldon Johnson, is averaging 14.2 points per contest on the year. His home numbers alone would place him third on the team in scoring.
On games away from home, however, the Kentucky freshman takes his game to a whole new level.
Away from Rupp Arena, Herro is averaging 15.33 points per game and has finished in double-figures in all nine matchups on the year. In true road games, the Wildcat guard is averaging 16.5 points per game on a ridiculous 52.9 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from three, and 100 percent from the free throw line.
In fact, three of his four highest scoring totals of the year came on true road games, including a career-high 24 points against Louisville. He also added 20 in Kentucky’s matchup with Auburn to go with 19 tonight.
In this matchup in particular, the Wildcat guard drilled four of the team’s first seven made baskets of the game, single-handedly saving the Kentucky offense in the first half. Herro finished the half shooting 4-4, while the rest of the Wildcats managed just 8-30 (26.7 percent) from the field.
Late in the second half, Kentucky held a four-point lead with just under two and a half minutes remaining until Wildcat forward PJ Washington found Herro in the left corner for a dagger three. The make pushed Kentucky’s lead to seven with just 2:24 remaining, ultimately icing the game.
When asked about the clutch three-pointer, the Wildcat freshman gave all credit to Washington for finding him in the corner.
“PJ made a great play,” he said. “I got in position where I could make a shot, and fortunately I knocked it down. But that’s just PJ making great plays.”
Also acknowledging Washington’s impressive 15-point, 12-rebound performance, Florida head coach Mike White wanted to make sure Herro got the credit he deserved for having yet another huge game in such a hostile environment.
“I thought Tyler Herro was enormous,” White said. “For Herro to get 19 points on eight shots, I mean how efficient is that?”
After Kentucky’s victory over Auburn on January 19, Herro told the world he loved playing the villain role on the road.
“(I’d rather hit a big shot) on the road for sure,” Herro said. “I just like hitting big shots against people who don’t like us. If they don’t like us, we don’t like them.”
Tonight, he proved his role once again by being the ultimate villain in front of a sellout crowd of 10,763 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. While Gator fans were dreaming of an upset against a top-10 opponent, Herro went out of his way to prove he had another plan in mind.