#3 Kentucky defeated the Providence Friars 79-65 to leave Kentucky at 7-1 on the season with their only loss to Michigan State earlier in the season. Kentucky lead the entire game but Providence did not go down without a fight, hanging with the Cats the entire game and hitting 10 three point shots.
Kentucky proved they are not, in fact, the Julius Randle show. America, meet Willie Cauley-Stein. Randle was just shy of his double-double he’s posted each game, he had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Cauley-Stein was just shy of a TRIPLE-double with 15 points, 9 blocks and 8 rebounds. WCS tied Andre Reddick and Sam Bowie for second-most blocks in a single game tonight. To see how that matches up, Willie has had 31 blocks through eight games, Nerlens Noel had 26 and Anthony Davis had 36.
It is no surprise that the “veteran” (I use veteran because he is a sophomore) stepped up and preformed on a big stage with a team full of freshman. I think that this team is finally starting to get it, slowly (by Kentucky standards) but surely. They did not go out a dominate this game, but they controlled it- keeping the lead the entire time on a good Providence team in an NBA arena. Kentucky forced this team to play outside their comfort zone, a team that averaged just five 3-point shots hit 10 from behind the arc tonight and attempted 19. Kentucky went 6-8 from the 3 line as well.
James Young lead scoring with 18 points, 3 rebounds and one assist. Aaron Harrison had 15 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists as well. His brother, Andrew, posted 8 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
Commentators have said it all season: “Wait to see this team in January”. I think they’re most definitely on to something. All but one starter is a freshman, the other being a sophomore. This team is still learning and growing both as individual basketball players and as a team. With more experience and time together, this team is going to mesh and really play some great basketball. There’s been improvement every game but after seeing them struggle against Cleveland State two games ago, I see drastic improvement in just the last week. The fact that Randle’s “off” night was just shy of a double-double and the way his teammates stepped up to compensate for it is impressive, especially to a youthful team.
The sky is the limit for this roster full of potential and talent and I can’t wait to see how far they rise up.