“The corner has been turned”, that was the battle cry from the Kentucky Wildcats after the 87-74 victory over Ole Miss on the road. They had a loss to avenge against the Texas A&M Aggies. The team has been clicking better on offense and Nerlens Noel has been an absolute shot blocking machine on defense. This all seemed to make a recipe for a beat down in College Station.
And it sure looked that way early in the game. Kentucky shot out to a quick 9-0 lead. A&M couldn’t hit anything from the floor and scored their first points behind the free throw line. Nerlens Noel, fresh off of what could be the defensive performance of the year, hit his first six shots of the game en route to a 19 point performance. Elston Turner, who blitzed Kentucky for 40 points in their first meeting, couldn’t shake the defensive pressure applied by Archie Goodwin and Julius Mays.
But there were signs that we are all to used to that pointed to another frustrating performance. Alex Poythress was again a no show in the first half. Ryan Harrow was making bad decisions. Kyle Wiltjer wasn’t able to get a shot off or create his own shot. Archie Goodwin was struggling getting to the basket and had early fouls. And the Aggies were stayed in the game due to being perfect from the line early and because of a multitude of Wildcat turnovers.
The lead was 30-21 Kentucky going into halftime, but there was a feeling that the lead wouldn’t last. Does it ever with this team?