Photo courtesy of UK Athletics
Morehead State led for 23 seconds but Kentucky forced 26 turnovers to come away with a 92-67 victory on Monday night. The two in-state schools participated in the Kentucky Cares Classic with all proceeds going to charity.
It was one of the strangest UK games and one of the very few that have not been televised. Fans who did not pack Rupp Arena were forced to follow along on social media or listen to the action on the radio.
This was the second of three exhibitions for Kentucky and its first test against a Division one opponent. The Eagles hung tight with the Wildcats, trailing only 39-28 at halftime. Morehead State almost came all the way back with a strong surge in the second half to trim the lead to 51-49. The Wildcats responded with a 12-0 run to eventually put the Eagles away.
Offensively, a balanced attacked paced Kentucky, as four Wildcats finished in double figures. Hamidou Diallo led Kentucky with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 2-4 from three-point range. Freshman point guard Quade Green also reached 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The UK freshman led the Wildcats with 5 assists.
Kevin Knox flashed his plethora of skills once again, turning in a 16-point performance on 7-of-15 shooting. Midway through the second half, Knox exploded through the Eagles defense for a thunderous one-handed slam that was part of a 12-0 run that helped Kentucky coast to a victory.
In addition to Diallo, Green, and Knox, freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander impressed, finishing with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Starting for the first time, he only attempted six total shots but knocked down 8-of-10 free throws.
PJ Washington added 8 points, Wenyen Gabriel 5, and Sacha Killeya-Jones chipped in with three.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday for its final exhibition vs. Centre College. The game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. ET and it will be available on the SEC Network.