In typical Kentucky fashion, the Wildcats used the same recipe they’ve used all season to beat Portland 87 to 63. Kentucky allowed Portland to hang around in the first half, but as John Calipari’s squad has done all season, they used their defense and athleticism to make a run to stretch the lead in the second stanza.
The Pilots found early success against Kentucky with their three-point shooting. Tanner Riley and Nemanja Mitrovic each hit three three-pointers in the first half and the team went 6-12. And as well as they shot the ball, the rebounded just as well in the first half and out rebound the Cats 21-16 in the first frame.
Calipari was visibly upset all night with the lack of defensive discipline and Kentucky’s unwillingness to guard the perimeter. He pulled players off the court repeatedly for failing to do their jobs. Still, Kentucky led at halftime with Terrence Jones leading all scorers at half.
Kentucky (6-0) came out aggressive in the second half, as they did what they usually and turned up the defensive intensity. They seem to be able to get turnovers at will whenever they apply the pressure against teams. They found their two greatest plays of the night around the fifteen-minute mark as Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist each delivered high-light reel dunks that shook the building.
Davis had one of his best games as a Wildcat finishing with a double-double and playing great defense all evening. He scored 13 points while grabbing 12 rebounds also adding four blocks, two steals and an assist. He continues to struggle with his mid range game and at the free throw line, but his athleticism and ability to finish at the rim is unmatched.
Darius Miller and Terrence Jones paced the Wildcats with 19 points apiece. Miller had one of his best games of the season as he looked to score the ball and had a lot of success doing it. He was 4 of 5 from beyond the arch and his shot continues to look better every game. Jones also shot the ball well and knocked down both of his three-point attempts. He was very active in the paint and continues to be a driving force for this young team.
Marquis Teague handled the ball very well Saturday night racking up eight assists and no turnovers while kicking in 14 points of his own. As a team, Kentucky only had four turnovers and they forced 17 Portland turnovers on the evening.
As they time ran down, the clean-up team came in and Kentucky fans rejoiced in their second victory of the day. After the Kentucky football team defeated their foe Tennessee for the first time in 26 season, the basketball team performed an encore and finished off Portland with a 24-point victory.
Kentucky’s next opponent St. John’s comes to town to participate in the Big East/SEC Challenge at 7:30 this Thursday.