The first half started off just how you’d like to see it, a pass to a wide open James Young for a 3. Next possession Aaron Harrison made a three. Next possession after that Julius Randle sunk a three point basket. It was obvious that Kentucky had the size advantage, but did not go down low early, as it took them 6 minutes just to get it into the low post.
Derek Willis got some early playing time in. First shot Willis took was a 3, in which he nailed. Willis ended up with 2 threes in the half and 6 points overall. But after a hot start for Kentucky they cooled down. They allowed Transy to get within 4. Dakari Johnson was fouled and made one free throw and Randle got rebound and fouled. Randle made one of his free throws and Kentucky tried to put gas to the pedal but could do so.
Kentucky did play a little sloppy though, as passes were mishandled, alley oops were too high, defense was shakey, but what would you expect for the first game of the year?
Score was 24 – 17 at the halfway point of the first half.
For how small Transy was they made up with it in their gritt. Stuck with Kentucky for most of the first half. Kentucky may have been up by 30 at the half if they had made the right decisions and the right shots. Again, it’s the first game. Johnson was showing the most passion. Pumping his chest after an AND-1.
The top performers for the Cats in the first half were, Julius Randle with 12 points, Dakari Johnson with 7 points but mostly for hard efforts. Derek Willis had a nice half making 2 threes and almost making another.
In the second half Kentucky needs to guard the 3 ball better defensively. Make better shot selections. All-in-all Kentucky played well for a bunch a freshman.