The tenth-ranked Wildcats took on Tennessee State, Friday night at Rupp Arena. This is the first time that the two teams have faced each other.
The Tennessee State logo closely resembles the LSU logo, like McDowells to McDonald's.
The Tigers came into the game attempting 32 three-pointers a game and knocking down on average 13.4 per game. Not a stat that UK fans wanted to see with the way our 3PT defense has been playing. Kentucky opponents this year are shooting 44% from beyond the arc this season, making 11.2 a game.
To the surprise of many, TSU did not come out shooting threes but driving into the paint. At midway in the first half, they were outscoring UK 14-4 in the paint.
The Wildcat defense did look great at times, forcing two shot-clock violations in the first nine minutes fo the game. EJ Montgomery was doing EJ like things and blocking shots (2 on the night), he came into the game leading the team with 9 rejections.
Then at times, the defense looked confused. Allowing 32 of the 62 points scored by TSU to come from the paint. We were getting beat off the dribble and our rotations allowed some easy baskets. This is not something we want to be doing when we go up against the likes of Seton Hall, UNC or half of the SEC.
Offensively, UK was led by Keldon Johnson and his 27 points and 7 rebounds. Travis Reid came off the bench for the second straight game and barely missed his first double-double as a Wildcat. The grad transfer from Stanford had 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 24 mins of play. After the game Coach Cal said the Keldon Johnson was "seeing gaps and he was seeing opportunities to go at the basket and was strong at the rim and did a pretty good job."
UK shot it's second-worst field-goal percentage 44.2% of the year (44.1% vs Duke). We missed a bunch of baskets in close and at times we let the physical play of TSU get to us. After the came Coach Cal said the offensive struggles were due to our defensive play..."Look, folks, the reality of it is we're a ways away. We're not a very good team right now. We have no confidence defensively, which bleeds into your offense. Then have you no confidence offensively."
The Wildcats will get back to work this week and prepare to take on Monmouth on Wednesday at 8:30pm in Rupp Arena.