Coming into tonight’s game at Rupp Arena, most of the social media chatter was not on the Kentucky Wildcats or the Boise State Broncos. It was on the newly dyed blonde locks of Wildcat sophomore Willie Cauley – Stein. Even ESPN’s commentator Jimmy Dykes seemed caught up in the WCS hairdo conversation when he subtweeted on the topic:
2 ways to stand out on the court. Wear headbands, arm sleeves, tights, neon shoes, die your hair, or just play harder than anyone else.
— Jimmy Dykes (@JimmyDykesLive) December 10, 2013
And Willie Cauley – Stein seemingly took notice and stepped up his game, finishing with 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 blocks. Cauley – Stein’s efforts forced Boise State to alter seemingly every shot they took inside and the Kentucky Wildcats grounded college basketball’s top scoring team in a 70-55 win tonight.
Kentucky came out aggressive from the start, but Boise State nailed a couple of three pointers to keep the game close for the opening minutes. A Mikey Thompson basket gave Boise State a 14-13 lead. A Julius Randle layup quickly gave Kentucky the lead back and the Wildcats would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game. Derrick Marks picked up his second early foul and with him on the bench, Kentucky started to pull away.
An Aaron Harrison steal and dunk followed by a three pointer by James Young gave Kentucky a 22-14 lead at the 10:08 mark.
Anthony Drmic had 13 first half points to keep Boise State in range for most of the first half, but that was not enough to offset the first half blitz of Willie Cauley-Stein and James Young. Young went 4-9 from long-range in the first twenty minutes to lead all scorers with 17 points. And even though he played just 11 minutes, Cauley – Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the opening stanza.
A Jeff Elorriaga trey kept Boise State close within 5 points at 36-31 with 1:44 left in the half, but Aaron Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein closed the scoring and UK took a 41-31 lead into the locker room at half.
The first half numbers illustrated the Kentucky dominance as UK outrebounded the Broncos 23-12, had more points in the paint by the margin of 24-14, and outshot the Broncos 54.8% to 41.2%. It was one of the better first halves of the season as Kentucky bounced back from the Baylor game.