The Kentucky Wildcats are battling the Arkansas Razorbacks in Bud Walton Arena tonight, and at halftime, the Cats trail the Hogs 43-41.
Here are some notes and observations from the first-half:
*Most believed this young Cats team would get off to a slow start due to unique atmosphere Arkansas presents at home, and UK was about as bad as they’ve looked this year for the first 2.5 minutes.
*Turnovers and sloppy fouls led to UK falling behind 8-2 right out of the gate, but the Cats calmed down and proceeded to go on an 8-2 run of their own.
*6 turnovers in the first 6 minutes allowed Arkansas to establish their transition offense early, and when UK wasn’t turnig the ball over, Arkansas was struggling to run their offense, especially with Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle affecting/blocking shots.
*The Cats were very efficient on offense, hitting 7 of their first 11 shots compared to Arkansas hitting just 6 of their first 19.
*James Young was focusing more on scoring inside the three-point stripe, as 2 of his first 3 shots were 2-point jumpers which he hit both of.
*The Cats in general were less enamored with the 3-ball, as 6 of their first 9 shots were 2-point attempts, Aaron Harrison did hit his first 2 3-point attempts.
*But the turnovers and silly fouls continued throughout the first-half and helped keep Arkansas ahead, and it got worse when both Willie Cauley-Stein and Aaron Harrison picked up 2 fouls.
*After UK took a 23-21 lead with 7:50 left in the half, the Razorbacks went on a 16-5 run to take a 9-point lead, but UK battled back with 8-straight points from Young, all of which were from layups or free throws as he continued to display a more balanced offensive game not reliant on jump-shots.
*The Cats were finding it hard to shut down any particular Razorbacks player, as 10 different players scored in the first-half, led by from Rashad Madden.
*Neither side was getting the benefit of the whistle as fouls were called 28 fouls were called, 15 of which were on the Razorbacks.
*Poythress got a couple of buckets towards the end of the half to finish with 8 points and 4 boards and gave UK a spark off the bench to keep UK from trailing by more at the break.
*Julius Randle also picked up 2 early fouls, but still managed to finish with 6 points and 5 boards and was unstoppable in the pain when he was in.
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