It was a night filled with anticipation; Jones and Miller stole the show. The Cats began the game sluggish, making only 3 of the first 14 shots. The first half proved a bit more challenging for St. John’s as five shot clock violations confirmed the defensive position of the Wildcats, a good thing considering the Cats’ offensive woes. Overall, the Johnnies took a hit with 15 turnovers for the night. The Johnnies were unable to get inside as Davis put up his third double-double and second consecutive one of the season. Jones was a beast against this Storm with a season high 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 steals. The free throw line was kind to Jones as he made 11 of 16. For the third time this season, the Cats held their opponent to less than 20 points in the first half.
The Cats came out roaring in the second half, showing St. John’s how it’s done in Rupp, showing off a 7-2 scoring run including 5 consecutive points from Kidd-Gilchrist. Lamb got his groove back towards the end of the first half, ending the night with 16 points. This game belonged to Miller, pure and simple. Dicky V said it best, “Bring down the house, it’s Miller time.” Miller played 27 minutes last night, posting 9 points while tying his career high 6 assists. The points Miller scored were smashing, literally. The Red Storm knew to just get out of his way.
Miller is a tremendous player and a leader to the young freshmen; coming to terms with having to come off the bench. He is a giving sort, realizing there are more important goals than to start the game.
St. John’s fought hard, but UK limited their inside game and beat their press every time. The Kentucky defense put a big chink in the Johnnie’s chain as they could not seem to get a look at the basket, much less have time to shoot the ball. Fouls early in the game for guard Nurideen Lindsey, and forward God'sgift Achiuwa, yes that is his name, caused early and unplanned substitutions. Head Coach Steve Lavin was unable to be at Rupp with his team as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery. The Red Storm blew into Rupp under the direction of Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap.
Overall, this game on the surface sustained the No. 1 ranking of the Wildcats. In depth, there are still issues with the communication on the offensive end that need to be resolved immediately. Calipari is running out of time before he and his crew hit harder opponents. The contest scheduled for tomorrow against UNC will certainly set a tone for the next set of conference opponents.
UK v UNC will be aired as usual; CBS will cover the television while UK IMG picks up the radio call. Tip-off is slated for 12:00pm tomorrow, December 3. One rule for the game tomorrow; no Carolina blue allowed while watching the game-Kentucky blue all the way!