The Kentucky Wildcats got off to a hot start tonight against Texas Arlington, and much of that had to do with the red-hoot shooting of one James Young. The freshman wing scored 10 quick point in the first four minutes of the game, including a pair of three-pointers. UK lead 14-4 at the 1st TV time timeout, and it was clear early on the Cats weren’t overlooking the Mavericks.
The passing was clean, the defense was suffocating, and UK’s guards were driving to the rim aggressively against the smaller Maverick players. Forward Marcus Lee got some good minutes in and played well on defense while also showing he has a god post-up game, as he posted-up his man and hit a nice hook-shot early in the game.
After jumping out to a 19-5 lead, the Cats would go into a shooting slump while committing several bad turnovers that allowed the Mavericks to go on a 12-2 run to get right back into the game after it looked like it was going to be a blowout early.
But then the Cats do what they may do in the future when they need a big basket to stop a run or get a crucial score, and that’s throw it down to Julius Randle in the post, and in this case, he powered through his defender for a layup and drew the foul.
From there-on, the Cats go to retake control of the game for the rest of the half due mainly to their defense revving-back up. It really can’t be overstated how well this team plays suffocating defense when all five guys our given their best effort, and it could rival the 2011-12 championship team if they continue to improve for the remainder of the season.
While no one player is the caliber of defender that Anthony Davis or even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were, the combined efforts of all five guys has potential to be greater if they continue to mesh, but they still have a ways to go to get there.
The Cats would do enough the rest of the half to take a 42-33 lead into halftime. Young leads all scorers with 15 points, while Marcus Lee chipped in 10 points.