What cures all ills for a basketball team? Winning. The Kentucky Wildcats got their first shot of penicillin tonight in an 88-56 win over the visiting Samford Bulldogs. The Wildcats will have three more home games to cure all of their ills before heading on the road to face the Louisville Cardinals. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
The Wildcats stormed the court in the first half looking to prove the naysayers wrong. After a lackadaisical effort against Notre Dame and an off shooting night against Baylor, it was time to right the ship and the sacrificial lamb was Samford. Nerlens Noel was the star of the first half as he played like a man possessed. He was diving after balls, rebounding, blocking shots, grabbing steals and dunking the ball. The big criticism about Noel was that he does not finish with authority, tonight he did.
His stat line was impressive as he scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots.
The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to only four field goals in the first half and only 14 total points. The effort that seemed to be lacking on the defensive end was nowhere to be found. It was said that John Calipari ran a series of brutal practices in order to drive home desire and passion. Kentucky strength and conditioning coach Rock Oliver was seated on the bench as a visible warning of things to come if the Wildcats continued their poor play.