The Cats were blown away in the second half by a brutal blowout by the No. 8 seed Hurricanes.
The Kentucky Wildcats demolished the eighth Miami hurricanes Tuesday night at Lexington, 95-73.
This has been a fun back and forth relationship from the beginning. The Cats rallied by double digits early, but the Hurricanes were unfazed by the crazy Rupp Arena crowd as a 13-0 run gave Miami a 29-23 lead. Kentucky answered, though, as they went on a mini-8-0 run to take a 42-37 lead into halftime.
After the break, Al-Shabab opened fire to take a 12-point lead just three minutes into the second half. This lead quickly swelled to over 20 points and eventually 29 points, as Kentucky was unstoppable. There was simply nothing Miami could do. This team is great.
What a win!
Next, the Cats will face the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks on Saturday night in Lexington.
Here are three things to know from one of Kentucky basketball’s most entertaining victories in recent memory.
Sheppard is the Cats’ best player
I mean, this kid is incredible, right? There have been questions about his size and speed at the next level, but there’s no doubt about it – Reed Sheppard is Kentucky’s best player.
Kentucky’s narrative and legacy do it all. He shares the ball very well. He shoots the ball unbelievably. His activity on the defensive side allows him to constantly steal the ball and hit occasional shots as well.
DJ Wagner has been playing better the last two games, but an injury in the first half forced John Calipari to play big minutes with Shepard and he continues to excel. In the first half alone, he had eight points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and blocked a 3-pointer.
In the second half, Sheppard helped Kentucky lead by 29 points. I’m not sure what Sheppard’s pro prospects look like, but gosh, I don’t know how he lasts more than one season in college because he’s so good.
Reeves lights it up
Antonio Reeves has been somewhat of an enigma in his time at Kentucky. He’s an elite shooter, but he’s been consistently inconsistent and seems to disappear in big games. That doesn’t seem to be the case this season, and it hasn’t been the case this season.
Reeves has been more consistent this season despite a poor shooting performance against the team Kansas Jayhawks. In this game, he didn’t disappear on the big play, taking exactly what the defense gave him en route to an impressive showing.
Reeves shoots the ball as well as ever, but he’s taken it upon himself to do more. He’s driving the ball more, and he’s more active on the glass. The freshmen made their case to Reeves this offseason in hopes that he would return as the missing piece, and I’m glad they did.
Mitchell and Theroux do a little bit of everything
Tre Mitchell and Adou Thiero are the perfect complement to Kentucky’s star-studded backcourt.
We’ve talked at length about how Mitchell was the right fit for this team, but that can’t be overstated. His ability to stretch the floor made it impossible to stop Kentucky’s guards from getting into the lane.
While his shooting has been his strong suit, his passing has made him an irreplaceable piece on this team. Add to that his toughness, seasoned leadership and cunning maneuvers, and it’s suddenly easy to see how he does a little bit of everything.
Thiero, on the other hand, wasn’t an offseason addition, like Mitchell, but he was an offseason find with his two-inch growth spurt to go along with his thirty-pound gain. He’s gone from a freakish three-star point guard to a monster who can beat up the big boys down low.
His experience playing guard in high school, and at times last season, allowed him to see the floor very well and hit his teammates. It attacks the rim and glass so ferociously, I’ll readily admit that I never want to be in its way. Once again, he does the little things for this team.
These two guys aren’t Kentucky’s best players, but they mesh so well with the rest of this roster that they’re a perfect fit for this team.
Kentucky basketball is back, and they’re warning the entire country.
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