Freshman forward Kevin Knox goes up for two of his game-high 25 points in the Wildcats 107-73 win vs. UIC on Sunday, November 27, 2017. (Photo by Keyli Chisesi, Go Big Blue Country).
The Kentucky Wildcats put together their best performance of the season in Sunday nights 107-73 win vs. Illinois-Chicago, as six players finished in double figures. Freshman forward Kevin Knox led Kentucky with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes of play.
Overall, Kentucky made great strides and put together their most complete game of the season. As a team, they shot 67 percent from the floor, knocking down 42-of-63 shots and dominated points in the paint, 60-34.
Knox led the way for the Cats but Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington turned in solid, efficient performances for No. 8 Kentucky. Diallo dropped 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Washington added 17, making 6-of-7 shot attempts.
For Washington, it was the most efficient game he had put together this season. Additionally, he chipped in five rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes of play while Diallo added four assists and three rebounds.
Defensively, Kentucky rejected seven UIC shot attempts but at one point in the game, the Flames held a 5-1 advantage in the shot-blocking category. Kentucky mixed in a zone during the first half but played man-to-man during the second half, switching everything. The ability to switch and guard all positions on the floor took UIC completely out of rhythm offensively.
As a team, the Wildcats did a great job keeping the ball moving on offense. Kentucky registered 22 assists on 42 made shot attempts, led by Shai Gilegous-Alexander’s game-high of six. The freshman guard stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, five rebounds, and two steals.
SGA’s backcourt partner, Quade Green, struggled with turnovers early but as John Calipari said during his postgame press conference, they need him on the floor because of his ability to shoot the basketball. Green was the only Wildcat to knock down multiple three-point shots, finishing 2-of-3 from long range. The 6-0 guard totaled 12 points, 6 rebounds, and four assists.
Joining in on the action was freshman center Nick Richards, who took his play to another level this week. Richards didn’t match his dominant performance vs. Fort Wayne but he was efficient, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. An encouraging statistic is he committed just one foul in 22 minutes of play, which allowed him to be on the floor.
Through seven games, Kentucky is making strides, getting better with each performance. Sunday night was a big step forward and now the players have the next two days off, before returning to practice on Wednesday. Next up for Kentucky is a home date with Harvard next Saturday, before a trip to New York City to play Monmouth on December 9th. Tipoff for Saturday’s game vs. Harvard is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.