Kentucky Wildcats Use Three and D to Defeat Hokies

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 16: PJ Washington /

The Kentucky Wildcats defeated Virginia Tech on Saturday at Rupp Arena.

The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 93-86. The Wildcats forced 19 turnovers and knocked down a season high 11 three-point shots. Kentucky improved to 9-1 on the season.

Kentucky started 0-of-5 from the field to start the game. However, a dunk from Nick Richards started a 9-0 Kentucky run punctuated by an alley-oop from Quade Green to Richards. The game became an up and down affair with neither team taking a big lead until Kerry Blackshear Jr. made a spinning layup late in the first half that put the Hokies up by 8.

The Wildcats uncharacteristically made a barrage of three-point shots before halftime. Kentucky was 7-of-13 (53.8%) from beyond the arc in the first half. Five different Wildcats knocked down at least one shot from downtown.

Kentucky saw the return of Quade Green and Sacha Killeya-Jones during the game. Both players came off the bench. Green, wearing a custom pair of protective goggles, led the Cats in scoring at halftime with 10 and finished with 17. Killeya-Jones, who returned from ankle injury, was hit with two early fouls and sat the majority of the first half.

Kentucky went on a 10-2 scoring run midway through the first half, but it was the Hokies who closed the first half on a 10-2 run of their own to lead 47-41 at the half.

A quick layup to start the second half put Virginia Tech up 49-41, but a 13-2 Wildcats run put Kentucky up 54-51 at the first TV timeout. Kevin Knox exploded for 11 of the Cats 13 points during that run. Knox had a nice bounce-back performance, scoring a team high 21 points.

The back-and-forth, high-octane contest continued throughout the second half. Hamidou Diallo knocked down the biggest shot of the night with a three-pointer late to put the Cats up 88-83. Diallo finished with 20 points and hit 4 three-point shots.

After halftime, Virginia Tech did not make a three-point shot for the first 17 minutes of the second half. Justin Robinson knocked down a trey with 2:50 left and Ahmed Hill hit another from deep with 1:18 on the clock. The Hokies finished 10-of-22 from behind the arc. Blackshear led the Hokies in scoring with 18 points. He fouled out with less than four minutes left in the game.