Hamidou Diallo goes up for 2 of his 19 points in a 79-70 win vs. Harvard on Saturday. Photo by Keyli Chisesi, Go Big Blue Country.
The Kentucky Wildcats tipped off their December portion of the schedule with a home game vs. the Harvard Crimson at Rupp Arena today. The Wildcats used a strong stretch during the second half to cruise to a 79-70 victory.
Six days had passed since the last time the Wildcats took the floor, allowing John Calipari to focus on critical areas during practice. The result was another performance that shows how much better this team is getting with each passing week.
Offensively, Kentucky was led by the freshmen duo of Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo, who both reached double figures. Knox poured in a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 36 minutes. Diallo, who had his best game of the season, scored a career-high 19 points and hauled in six rebounds.
The first half was the Kevin Knox show, as he scored 14 of 20 points in the opening half. The freshman showcased his ability to knock down the outside and midrange jumper. Knox continues to play a high amount of minutes, this time with 36. It will be interesting to see what this team looks like if he gets in foul trouble at some point this season.
Harvard stuck around throughout the game, thanks to a 43 percent clip from three-point range. The Crimson knocked down 23-of-62 shot attempts but 12 of them came from behind the three-point line. Harvard also battled on the boards, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds to chip in eight second-chance points.
Joining Knox and Diallo in double figures was freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who added 12 points. SGA didn’t have his best effort from the floor but he converted on all eight of his free throw attempts. Additionally, he added four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a blocked shot.
As a team, Kentucky knocked down 26-of-56 shots for 46 percent but shot a season-low 14 percent from the three-point line. On a positive note, the Wildcats converted at the free throw line by knocking down 25-of-30 free throws, good enough for 83 percent.
This team has a long way to go but improvement should be expected over the next four weeks, as the Wildcats only play four games before the conference opener on December 31st.
The win improves Kentucky to 7-1 on the season and they will now shift their attention to Monmouth on Saturday, December 9th. The matchup will be played at Madison Square Garden with tipoff set for noon ET next Saturday.