After killing the Cardinals Thursday night, the #8 UK Hoops team traveled to Murfreesboro, TN this afternoon to face Rick Insell’s Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. After the 68-52 victory, the Cats remain undefeated in nine games (9-0).
Kentucky started the game with two turnovers on their first two possessions, but things would soon get better. With 3:57 left in the first quarter, the Cats led the Blue Raiders 8-7 with Maci Morris claiming six of Kentucky’s first eight points. Towards the end of the first quarter, MTSU committed 4 turnovers in 3 minutes and only made one of their last nine FGs, giving the Cats an 11-0 run and a 18-8 lead. The second quarter was basically the same story as the first. In the last two minutes of the half, the Cats went on a 7-0 run, converting off the Blue Raiders’ four turnovers in the last four minutes of the second quarter. At halftime, the Cats led Middle Tennessee, 35-28. Kentucky shot 42% in the first two quarters, and was 100% from the free throw line (6-6). Kentucky outscored MTSU in the paint 18-14, but the Blue Raiders managed to out-rebound the Cats 23-19. Makayla Epps had seven points in the first half, followed by Janee Thompson and Maci Morris with six a-piece. Evelyn Akhator led all rebounders with six.
The second half opened with a steal by Alexis Jennings and a layup by Epps. The Wildcats continued to dominate throughout the third quarter, leading by as much as thirteen with a little help from Alyssa Rice who got her first points of the season at 5:38 left in the third quarter after missing the whole month of November with a foot injury. At the end of the third quarter, Kentucky led the Raiders by twelve, 60-48. Middle Tennessee committed six turnovers in the last seven minutes of the game, but Kentucky was not able to convert, only making one of their last six shots. Kentucky still held on for a comfortable 68-52 victory.
The Cats had three players in double-digit scoring this afternoon: Taylor Murray with 10, Epps with 17, and Morris with 10. Evelyn Akhator ended the game with 9 rebounds, while Janee Thompson had 6 assists. Kentucky shot a respectable 47% from the field today, but only 17% from the three. The Cats did pretty well at the free throw line, going 11 for 14. Kentucky forced an amazing 26 turnovers on the Raiders, converting them to 21 points. Kentucky was out-rebounded 40-32.
Here’s the box score:
The Hoops squad will return to Lexington and Rupp Arena to “Pack the House” against Duke Sunday night at 7. Haley and I will be bringing you live tweet updates from press row. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. The Blue Devils are ranked 13th in the nation right now and are currently sitting at 7-2 on the season. They will face UMass and Liberty on Monday and Thursday respectively before traveling to Rupp on Sunday.