Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kentucky 89 - 65 Boston University (No. 2,144)

OK, now be honest:  were you all that motivated for this game?  Were you as excited about watching UK play the Boston Terriers as you were when the Cats took on the Kansas Jayhawks?  Of course you weren't.  So it's not that surprising that the same UK team that allowed only 40 points against Kansas allowed 35 points in the first half against Boston.  Nor is it surprising that the Cats led by only five points at the half, and only pulled away down the stretch.

Naturally after the game against Kansas, everyone acted as though UK would beat lesser teams like this one by a Harlem Globetrotters-type score.  But that was never realistic.  Actually, the Cats played quite well Friday night.  Consider the following:

1.  Ken Pomeroy thought the Cats would win by 21 points -- 75 to 54.  They actually won by 24 points.

2.  UK scored 1.2 points per possession -- a very high level of efficiency, and a tribute to the fact that UK made 38.1 percent of its three-point shots and 68.4 percent (!) of its two-point shots.

3.  Meanwhile, Boston scored only 0.88 points per possession -- the fourth straight game in which UK's opponent has been held to less than 1 point per possession.  BU went 9-24 from three-point range, and 16-18 from the line -- but they only went 11-28 from two-point range and they had 22 turnovers (strong evidence that UK's defense was working well).

4.  And BU has some real players.  One of their starters was Nathan Dieudonne of Louisville Trinity.  A few years ago, he was not only Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, but led Trinity to one of the easiest State Basketball titles you will ever see.  Pomeroy lists BU as one of three co-favorites in the Patriot League, which is stronger than the Sun Belt and the OVC.

5.  Alex Poythress, one of UK's starters and most experienced players, missed the game with an illness.

In short, the Cats were playing a solid mid-major team that was hot from three-point range and the free throw line, that got off to a great start and trailed by only five points at the half -- and the Cats still romped home with an easy win.  That's a good sign.

It should also be noted that Devin Booker, a UK freshman who is regarded as a major offensive threat, showed his quality for the first time in this game.  In the first three games of the year, Booker went 1-11 from three point range and scored only 15 points.  But look at his line against BU:  1-2 from two-point range, 4-5 from three-point range, 1-2 from the line, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 15 points.  Given that he played only 20 minutes, those are excellent numbers:  he was on pace for 30 points, 14 assists, and 8 rebounds over the course of a full game.  Up to this point, my biggest concern about the Cats has been their outside shooting.  If Booker develops into a strong outside threat, he could become a major weapon.

1 comment:

  1. I gather that Trinity is going to be pretty good again this year.