UK Basketball – KENTUCKY SURVIVES WITH A NINE POINT VICTORY OVER HARVARD: KENTUCKY 79- HARVARD 70.

UK slips by Harvard – Photo by Brendon Miller

December, 2, 2017- Rupp Arena – David Leveridge- Kentucky Basketball Beat Writer

Kentucky basketball continued the early season non- conference schedule with a match up against the Harvard Crimson from the Ivy League.  Kentucky entered tonight’s match up with a six win and one loss on the season.  Kentucky is currently on a five- game winning streak, only suffering a loss to Kansas in the Champions Classic in Chicago, Illinois in November.  Harvard is three and five on the season, and currently on a two- game losing streak entering tonight’s match up.  

Kentucky gets the tip and scored first as Kevin Knox connects with a jumper.  On UK’s next possession Nick Richards has several opportunities to score finally stuffing the ball with a strong one hand slam.  Richards emotions got the best of him and received a technical foul for excessive celebration.  Harvard connects on both free throws tying the score at 4 with 19:02 remaining in the first half.  Kevin Knox hits another three- point basket, and UK is leading 11- 7 at the first media timeout.  Kevin Knox continues his hot shooting with his second three- point basket and being the first Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring.  Knox has ten points with 14:42 remaining in the half and UK had a four -point lead UK-22- Harvard 18.  Hamidou Diallo has a great first half and attacks the zone defense on multiple possessions. Diallo nearly provides one of the most exciting plays of the season.  Diallo is leading the fast break, passes to Quade Green, and Diallo gets the ball back with open court in front of him.  Diallo jumps from near the free throw line and attempts a one hand slam in transition. The UK fan base was ready to explode, but Diallo couldn’t convert on the finish.  Harvard is a very experienced team and every time UK would get a comfortable lead, Harvard would answer to keep the game close.  Seth Towns # 31 hits back to back threes with 5:58 remaining in the half, reducing the lead to one- point UK 30- Harvard 29.  Towns had an impressive first half and at one point was perfect from behind the ARC being 4-4.  Towns finishes the half scoring fourteen points, shooting 5 for 8 from the field and 4 for 5 from the three- point line.  Kentucky takes the lead at halftime with the score UK 42- Harvard 37.  Kentucky who is not known as a great free throw shooting team was 12-13 from the charity stripe and shot 92% in the first half. Kentucky also had a superb first half shooting the ball, shooting 14-28 from the field with a 50% accuracy.  Kevin Knox led UK in scoring with sixteen total points, grabbing four rebounds and one assist.  Hamidou Diallo was the only other wildcat in double figure scoring, Diallo finishes the half with 11 points, grabbing three rebounds, and two assists.

Kentucky starts the second half hot and increases the lead to eight points during the first three minutes of the half.  Hamidou Diallo continues to have a great game provides another Sports Center worthy Dunk to open the scoring in the half.  Kevin Knox also continues his stellar play scoring on a jump shot early in the half.  The Rupp Arena Patrons were now getting excited with the CATS chant ringing through out the arena. Harvard was not intimidated by the Rupp Arena fan base and reduced the deficit again to four points, just before the first media timeout. Kentucky 49- Harvard 45 with 15:47 remaining in the first half.  Kentucky would continue to push the ball into the front court and grew the lead to nine points with 12:17 remaining in the second half.  Shai Gilgeous- Alexander finds Nick Richards for an over the top lob, Richards stuffs the ball with authority and once again the UK fan base was excited.  Kentucky 59- Harvard 50.  Kentucky goes on a huge run and ultimately extends the lead to twenty points with 7:08 remaining in the game.  UK was expected to win this game by a large margin, and the way the half had started, many believed UK would cruise to an easy victory.  The CATS were playing with confidence, shooting the ball well and pushing the ball into transition.  Rupp Arena fans turned up the decibel rating and for once the Young CATS were playing like the team everyone expected to start the season.  Dominant being a defensive Juggernaut and a team that is capable of scoring points in a hurry.  Harvard was not done competing, and again reduced the deficit.  Harvard begins to chip away at the lead and the CATS began to play lackadaisical with minimal effort allowing Harvard to stay in the game.  Harvard reduced the deficit to fifteen points UK 74- Harvard 59 with 6:28 remaining in the game.  With 2:52 remaining in the half the victory that seemed inevitable with seven minutes to go in the game was now very much in question as Harvard reduced the lead to eleven points.  Kentucky 74- Harvard 63.  Coach Cal calls an immediate timeout and the CATS respond making several free throws to extend the lead.  Kentucky survives with a seven- point victory 79- 70 against a solid Harvard Crimson team.   

Kentucky played a good game against a good and well coached Harvard team.  UK had glimpses of a team that was dominant and a team capable of cutting down the nets in March madness.  However, UK continued to allow a subpar opponent to be competitive in the game.  UK could have easily won this game by 30 points, given the way the team played midway through the second half.  Rupp Arena was louder than recent games and the crowd witnessed some spectacular moments from Diallo, Richards, and Kevin Knox.  Kentucky continues to lack the finisher mentality and once they get a comfortable lead, doesn’t play like their capable of playing.  In a couple of weeks the schedule for the CATS gets much harder, with UCLA coming up and a battle against the Louisville Cardinals later this month.  Against better competition the CATS will need to work on playing a complete game, and to keep up the intensity for a full forty minutes.  The spurts UK allows and not finishing the game strong will have to be addressed for the CATS to succeed against stiffer competition.   

Stats-

Kentucky 79

  • FG % for the game 26- 56 from the field, shooting 46%
  • 3 PT field goals for the game.  2-14 shooting 14%
  • Free Throws game 25-30 shooting 83%
  • Kentucky wins the rebound Battle UK 37 total rebounds, Harvard 36 total rebounds.
  • Scoring – Kevin Knox is the leading scorer for the Wildcat finishing with 20 total points, 7 rebounds, grabbing 1 assist, and 1 block.  Hamidou Diallo finishes with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Shai Gilgeous- Alexander finished with 12 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, grabbing 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 2 steals.  Nick Richards finishes with 9 points, grabbing seven rebounds, 1 assist, and three blocks.  Sacha Killeya- Jones finishes with 9 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.  Wenyen Gabriel contributed 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals.  PJ Washington finished with 3 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and 1 assist.  Quade Green scored 2 points grabbing 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, and 1 steal.
  • UK reserves contributed with 26 points.  
  • Fast Break points 15
  • Points off turnovers 24

Harvard 70

  • FG % for the game 23-62 shooting 37 %
  • 3 PT FG game 12-28 shooting 43%
  • Free Throw game 12- 17 shooting 70%
  • Scoring.  Seth Towns was the leading scorer for the game.  Towns finished with 25 points, shooting 6-7 from the 3 pt line.  Grabbing 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block.  Danillo Djurcic finished with 10 points, and 2 for 3 from behind the ARC.  Grabbing seven rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks.  Chris Lewis finished with 9 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.  Bryce Aiken also finished with 9 points grabbing 2 rebounds, 1 assist.  Farley Reed contributed 6 points, and 1 steal.  Henry Welsh finished with 4 points and 1 assist.  Corey Johnson finished with 3 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.  Rio Haskett finished with 2 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
  • Harvard bench outscored UK bench 47-26.

Coach Cal addressed media questions during the post- game press conference.  Here is a recap of some of the questions from Coach Cal.  Quotes have been provided by www.ukathletics.com

  1. This team needs games like this where the other team competes. What do you hope they can get out of it, the big lessons?
    JOHN CALIPARI: Well, they’ve got to be reflective on the self-reflective. You’ve got to look at what you’re being asked to do, and are you really listening or you’re not listening. And if you’re arguing the point, this is going to be a long time before it changes. If you understand that, all right, I’ve got to change and I’ve got to get this right. The stuff we’ll do over break will really help, because guys will focus on the areas they need to focus on.

    If you’re delusional, like delusional, and you’re good, I’m good, well, you’re really going to change? How are you going to change? You can’t accept you need to change. So, I’ve told them over and over and I’ll say it again, I’m asking the impossible of this team, but that’s what I do for a living. I’m asking individuals to do stuff that’s probably impossible for them to do right now. But I’m asking them to try and strive and do it. There are guys that will break through, and there are other guys that will look for alibis or whatever.

    This team is a bunch of good guys. They’re really trying. They’re really trying to please me. They just don’t know yet, and they shouldn’t. I’m playing all freshmen. They shouldn’t. But I’m expecting them to make strides, especially when we get up a bunch that we don’t revert. We play the game as though it’s a four-point game because we’re going to have a bunch of those. We’ve got this weekend on the road, and then we’ve got four games, bam, bam, bam. Just believe me, you could go 0-4 in that stretch of games, easy.
  2.   What you saw from Sacha Killeya-Jones and Nick Richards today, is that a winning formula?
    JOHN CALIPARI: Sacha got exhausted. Sacha almost passed out in the hallway at halftime when he came off the court. I didn’t know who was behind me. I thought someone was going to get an ambulance.

    Again, like, OK. You’ve got minutes now. You got to be able to – you don’t just stay out there and get exhausted. But, again, they’re doing better. Nick’s doing better.

    P.J. (Washington) got in foul trouble, and I told him at the half, when a guy gets two fouls, I’m not losing the game in the first half if we’re OK without you. I’m not going to do that. I never have. So I left guys out that had two fouls, which is what I’m going to do in league play, so we’ve got to get used to it, and I’ve got to get used to it.

Kentucky improves on the season to seven and one.  Kentucky will next play in Madison Square Garden next Saturday December, 9th, 2017 against Monmouth University Hawks.  After the Monmouth Game UK’s non- conference schedule gets much tougher with Virginia Tech at home on the 16th of December.  UCLA, Louisville, and Georgia will finish out the month of December.  Harvard drops on the season to 3 and 6.  Harvard’s next game will be on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 against the host school Fordham University.  

David Leveridge- Kentucky Basketball Beat Writer

Kentucky basketball continued the early season non- conference schedule with a matchup against the Harvard Crimson from the Ivy League.  Kentucky entered tonight’s matchup with a six win and one loss on the season.  Kentucky is currently on a five- game winning streak, only suffering a loss to Kansas in the Champions Classic in Chicago, Illinois in November.  Harvard is three and five on the season, and currently on a two- game losing streak entering tonight’s matchup.  

Kentucky gets the tip and scored first as Kevin Knox connects with a jumper.  On UK’s next possession Nick Richards has several opportunities to score finally stuffing the ball with a strong one hand slam.  Richards emotions got the best of him and received a technical foul for excessive celebration.  Harvard connects on both free throws tying the score at 4 with 19:02 remaining in the first half.  Kevin Knox hits another three- point basket, and UK is leading 11- 7 at the first media timeout.  Kevin Knox continues his hot shooting with his second three- point basket and being the first Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring.  Knox has ten points with 14:42 remaining in the half and UK had a four -point lead UK-22- Harvard 18.  Hamidou Diallo has a great first half and attacks the zone defense on multiple possessions. Diallo nearly provides one of the most exciting plays of the season.  Diallo is leading the fast break, passes to Quade Green, and Diallo gets the ball back with open court in front of him.  Diallo jumps from near the free throw line and attempts a one hand slam in transition. The UK fan base was ready to explode, but Diallo couldn’t convert on the finish.  Harvard is a very experienced team and every time UK would get a comfortable lead, Harvard would answer to keep the game close.  Seth Towns # 31 hits back to back threes with 5:58 remaining in the half, reducing the lead to one- point UK 30- Harvard 29.  Towns had an impressive first half and at one point was perfect from behind the ARC being 4-4.  Towns finishes the half scoring fourteen points, shooting 5 for 8 from the field and 4 for 5 from the three- point line.  Kentucky takes the lead at halftime with the score UK 42- Harvard 37.  Kentucky who is not known as a great free throw shooting team was 12-13 from the charity stripe and shot 92% in the first half. Kentucky also had a superb first half shooting the ball, shooting 14-28 from the field with a 50% accuracy.  Kevin Knox led UK in scoring with sixteen total points, grabbing four rebounds and one assist.  Hamidou Diallo was the only other wildcat in double figure scoring, Diallo finishes the half with 11 points, grabbing three rebounds, and two assists.

Kentucky starts the second half hot and increases the lead to eight points during the first three minutes of the half.  Hamidou Diallo continues to have a great game provides another Sports Center worthy Dunk to open the scoring in the half.  Kevin Knox also continues his stellar play scoring on a jump shot early in the half.  The Rupp Arena Patrons were now getting excited with the CATS chant ringing through out the arena. Harvard was not intimidated by the Rupp Arena fan base and reduced the deficit again to four points, just before the first media timeout. Kentucky 49- Harvard 45 with 15:47 remaining in the first half.  Kentucky would continue to push the ball into the front court and grew the lead to nine points with 12:17 remaining in the second half.  Shai Gilgeous- Alexander finds Nick Richards for an over the top lob, Richards stuffs the ball with authority and once again the UK fan base was excited.  Kentucky 59- Harvard 50.  Kentucky goes on a huge run and ultimately extends the lead to twenty points with 7:08 remaining in the game.  UK was expected to win this game by a large margin, and the way the half had started, many believed UK would cruise to an easy victory.  The CATS were playing with confidence, shooting the ball well and pushing the ball into transition.  Rupp Arena fans turned up the decibel rating and for once the Young CATS were playing like the team everyone expected to start the season.  Dominant being a defensive Juggernaut and a team that is capable of scoring points in a hurry.  Harvard was not done competing, and again reduced the deficit.  Harvard begins to chip away at the lead and the CATS began to play lackadaisical with minimal effort allowing Harvard to stay in the game.  Harvard reduced the deficit to fifteen points UK 74- Harvard 59 with 6:28 remaining in the game.  With 2:52 remaining in the half the victory that seemed inevitable with seven minutes to go in the game was now very much in question as Harvard reduced the lead to eleven points.  Kentucky 74- Harvard 63.  Coach Cal calls an immediate timeout and the CATS respond making several free throws to extend the lead.  Kentucky survives with a seven- point victory 79- 70 against a solid Harvard Crimson team.   

Kentucky played a good game against a good and well coached Harvard team.  UK had glimpses of a team that was dominant and a team capable of cutting down the nets in March madness.  However, UK continued to allow a subpar opponent to be competitive in the game.  UK could have easily won this game by 30 points, given the way the team played midway through the second half.  Rupp Arena was louder than recent games and the crowd witnessed some spectacular moments from Diallo, Richards, and Kevin Knox.  Kentucky continues to lack the finisher mentality and once they get a comfortable lead, doesn’t play like their capable of playing.  In a couple of weeks the schedule for the CATS gets much harder, with UCLA coming up and a battle against the Louisville Cardinals later this month.  Against better competition the CATS will need to work on playing a complete game, and to keep up the intensity for a full forty minutes.  The spurts UK allows and not finishing the game strong will have to be addressed for the CATS to succeed against stiffer competition.   

Stats-

Kentucky 79

  • FG % for the game 26- 56 from the field, shooting 46%
  • 3 PT field goals for the game.  2-14 shooting 14%
  • Free Throws game 25-30 shooting 83%
  • Kentucky wins the rebound Battle UK 37 total rebounds, Harvard 36 total rebounds.
  • Scoring – Kevin Knox is the leading scorer for the Wildcat finishing with 20 total points, 7 rebounds, grabbing 1 assist, and 1 block.  Hamidou Diallo finishes with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Shai Gilgeous- Alexander finished with 12 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, grabbing 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 2 steals.  Nick Richards finishes with 9 points, grabbing seven rebounds, 1 assist, and three blocks.  Sacha Killeya- Jones finishes with 9 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.  Wenyen Gabriel contributed 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals.  PJ Washington finished with 3 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and 1 assist.  Quade Green scored 2 points grabbing 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, and 1 steal.
  • UK reserves contributed with 26 points.  
  • Fast Break points 15
  • Points off turnovers 24

Harvard 70

  • FG % for the game 23-62 shooting 37 %
  • 3 PT FG game 12-28 shooting 43%
  • Free Throw game 12- 17 shooting 70%
  • Scoring.  Seth Towns was the leading scorer for the game.  Towns finished with 25 points, shooting 6-7 from the 3 pt line.  Grabbing 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block.  Danillo Djurcic finished with 10 points, and 2 for 3 from behind the ARC.  Grabbing seven rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks.  Chris Lewis finished with 9 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.  Bryce Aiken also finished with 9 points grabbing 2 rebounds, 1 assist.  Farley Reed contributed 6 points, and 1 steal.  Henry Welsh finished with 4 points and 1 assist.  Corey Johnson finished with 3 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.  Rio Haskett finished with 2 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
  • Harvard bench outscored UK bench 47-26.

Coach Cal addressed media questions during the post- game press conference.  Here is a recap of some of the questions from Coach Cal.  Quotes have been provided by www.ukathletics.com

  1. This team needs games like this where the other team competes. What do you hope they can get out of it, the big lessons?
    JOHN CALIPARI: Well, they’ve got to be reflective on the self-reflective. You’ve got to look at what you’re being asked to do, and are you really listening or you’re not listening. And if you’re arguing the point, this is going to be a long time before it changes. If you understand that, all right, I’ve got to change and I’ve got to get this right. The stuff we’ll do over break will really help, because guys will focus on the areas they need to focus on.

    If you’re delusional, like delusional, and you’re good, I’m good, well, you’re really going to change? How are you going to change? You can’t accept you need to change. So, I’ve told them over and over and I’ll say it again, I’m asking the impossible of this team, but that’s what I do for a living. I’m asking individuals to do stuff that’s probably impossible for them to do right now. But I’m asking them to try and strive and do it. There are guys that will break through, and there are other guys that will look for alibis or whatever.

    This team is a bunch of good guys. They’re really trying. They’re really trying to please me. They just don’t know yet, and they shouldn’t. I’m playing all freshmen. They shouldn’t. But I’m expecting them to make strides, especially when we get up a bunch that we don’t revert. We play the game as though it’s a four-point game because we’re going to have a bunch of those. We’ve got this weekend on the road, and then we’ve got four games, bam, bam, bam. Just believe me, you could go 0-4 in that stretch of games, easy.
  2.   What you saw from Sacha Killeya-Jones and Nick Richards today, is that a winning formula?
    JOHN CALIPARI: Sacha got exhausted. Sacha almost passed out in the hallway at halftime when he came off the court. I didn’t know who was behind me. I thought someone was going to get an ambulance.

    Again, like, OK. You’ve got minutes now. You got to be able to – you don’t just stay out there and get exhausted. But, again, they’re doing better. Nick’s doing better.

    P.J. (Washington) got in foul trouble, and I told him at the half, when a guy gets two fouls, I’m not losing the game in the first half if we’re OK without you. I’m not going to do that. I never have. So I left guys out that had two fouls, which is what I’m going to do in league play, so we’ve got to get used to it, and I’ve got to get used to it.

Kentucky improves on the season to seven and one.  Kentucky will next play in Madison Square Garden next Saturday December, 9th, 2017 against Monmouth University Hawks.  After the Monmouth Game UK’s non- conference schedule gets much tougher with Virginia Tech at home on the 16th of December.  UCLA, Louisville, and Georgia will finish out the month of December.  Harvard drops on the season to 3 and 6.  Harvard’s next game will be on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 against the host school Fordham University.