The Kentucky Wildcats returned to action last night after a week off for finals. The Cats looked a little rusty at times, but were able to roll up a 90-69 victory. The win moves UK to within one victory of 2,000. With a win over the Drexel Dragons on Monday, UK will become the first college basketball program to reach that plateau. UK is now 11-0, which marks the program’s best start since the 1992-93 season. John Calipari also put himself in the UK record books, surpassing Adolph Rupp’s record for consecutive victories to begin a tenure as UK coach.
As we have become accustomed to seeing, the game was full of spurts by the young guns of Kentucky. UK ran out to a 49-33 first half lead, but saw Austin Peay go on a 10-0 run of their own to cut the 16 point lead to 6. “We came out real sluggish and lazy,” freshman DeMarcus Cousins said. “We should come out every game like we are playing North Carolina.” It’s hard to argue with him here, but the sluggishness versus an inferior opponent coming off three big wins and finals week was not surprising.
The game remained relatively close in the second half. The Governors of Austin Peay were within nine points with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. This is when the veteran leadership of Patrick Patterson was key for Kentucky. He scored 5 straight points to help the Cats pull away. One of his buckets was off of an unbelievable alley-oop from John Wall. Eric Bledsoe hit a streaking John Wall for what appeared to be an alley-oop, but Wall had other plans, touching the ball to Patterson for a dunk. I have never seen a double alley-oop like this, but have come to expect greatness every time this group of Wildcats takes the floor. After a 3 by Darnell Dodson and two free throws by Patterson, UK was in command with a 82-61 lead.
It was good to see DeAndre Liggins get some extended playing time. He entered the game at the 14 minute mark of the first half. The sophomore guard from Chicago got a standing ovation from the Big Blue faithful. Liggins finished with only two points, but played solid defense in his 12 minutes of action. He could be an impact player this year for the Cats. UK won the battle of the boards by 44-24 margin, and outscored the Governors 44-16 in points in the paint. It was a pretty solid game all around for the Cats, who also shot 8-12 from 3 point land. Patrick Patterson led all scorers with 21 points. He also hauled in 9 boards. Cousins poured in 19 points and had 8 rebounds. The Great Wall finished with 17 points and 6 dimes. Darius Miller chipped in with 11 points.