Lexington, Ky – November 28, 2023 – Michael Willis
There is not a better atmosphere in college basketball than Rupp Arena, especially when a top ten opponent comes to town. Tonight was no exception as the Big Blue Nation cheered on their beloved Wildcats in their matchup against #8 Miami and helping them win 95 to 73.
Miami was very efficient to open the game, making their first five shots. Kentucky didn’t let the Hurricanes run off with the lead and thanks to a couple of offensive rebounds tied the game at 10 at the first media timeout. After the Cats gained a 10-point lead, Miami went on a 18-2 run to put the Hurricanes up six points with 7:48 left in the first half. The Cats played much better defense to end the first half and were able to take over the lead. The Wildcats led 42 to 37.
Reed Sheppard, Justin Edwards, and Antonio Reeves all ended the half with 8 points. Adou Thiero led the Cats in rebounding with 5 in the first 20 minutes. Despite the incredible three-point shooting in the previous game, the Cats only made 2 of their 10 three pointers in the first half.
The Cats were ready to play out of the half and went on a 13-2 scoring run and gained a sixteen-point lead. Kentucky continued to play pressure defense the rest of the game and led by as much as 29 points. Kentucky made 26 assists in the game and only 8 turnovers. After only shooting 20% from behind the arc in the first half, the Cats made 7 of the 11 three-pointers in the second and ended the game making 43% of their three-point attempts.
Reed Sheppard continues to impress with his great defense and effort on the court. Tonight, he led the Wildcats in scoring with 21 points. He made 5 of his 9 three-pointers and gained 3 steals. His +/- was also the highest on the team with +35.
Antonio Reeves ended the game with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Justin Edwards’ confidence continues to grow. Edwards scored 11 points while playing with the flow of the game making 5 of his 7 shots.
A blowout victory against a non-conference top ten opponent is what this team needed to build their confidence. The players knew that they let the Kansas game slip out of their hands and tonight’s victory proves that they will be heavily favorite in March. Kentucky plays Saturday Dec. 2nd Against UNCW at 7pm. This will be the last game in Rupp Arena until after Christmas.