Kentucky Wildcats: 69, Michigan St: 48
The Wildcats led by John Calipari came out calm and collected as they battled it out with Tom Izzo’s Spartans in the world renown Madison Square Garden. After inconsistent play in their last matchup against Canisius, the Cats seemed to have a different mindset as they played an efficient game with limited mistakes. The defense from Kentucky was stifling as they held the Spartans to 32.8% shooting from the field. Michigan St. turned the ball over 21 times which led to 24 Wildcat points.
Kentucky’s defense. Calipari’s defense caused the Spartans to turn the ball over 21 times and only shoot 32.8% from the field. The bigs held the standout freshman for the Spartans, Miles Bridges, to only 6 points on 2-11 shooting and he accounted for 9 turnovers. Tom Izzo commented on Kentucky’s defense after the game, “I think this is one of John’s best defensive teams”. The intensity from our guards and the lateral movement our bigs possess makes up for a scary unit.
Why Kentucky won the game?
As I previously mentioned, the defense was the biggest key in this victory. On the other end of the floor, the backcourt put on another showcase. Despite only shooting 38% from the field, the Cats were 80% from the line going 16-20. Monk, Briscoe, and Fox all combined for 56 points and 15 rebounds. For yet another game, the guards showed out and carried the load. The rest of the team scored a mere 13 points.
Star of the Game
The obvious choice for tonights Star of the Game, is Malik Monk. The off-guard dropped 23 points, 6 rebounds and even threw in an assist. Monk was lights out from the floor shooting 8-17, and 7-11 from downtown. Malik was the spark plug for UK’s offense tonight as he had an answer for almost every Spartan bucket.
Dud of the Game
After posting 21 points, 7 boards, and 2 assists, Miles Bridges was the talk of college basketball as one of the many freshmen who could break onto the scene. However, the Wildcats thought otherwise. Bridges scored only 6 points on 2-11 shooting, but he did haul in 12 rebounds. The Cats’ gameplan was executed to perfection as Bridges was shutdown and ended up turning the ball over 9 times.
Stat of the Night
Kentucky ended up going 80% from the free throw line, shooting 16-20. Many people look over this stat and don’t think much of it. The charity stripe can make or break a team at the end of the game. Not only did Kentucky shoot at a high percentage, but they also reached the line 20 times over the course of the game. Attacking the basket is crucial and the Cats utilized their slashing speed and toughness in the paint to get the job done.
At the end of the night, Kentucky outplayed Izzo’s squad. The defense from the Cats was stifling and the offensive effort was enough to move UK to 3-0 on the year. This game was a big test for the freshmen-loaded team, and it showed them that they can indeed compete with anybody, at any stage. The next game for the Wildcats will be on November 20th against the Duquesne Dukes at Rupp Arena.
Andy Furman University of Kentucky ’20