Kentucky Basketball: A tale of two halves Cats have to earn win over Miles

Kentucky guard Dontaie Allen (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky guard Dontaie Allen (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kentucky basketball
Kentucky forward Jacob Toppin (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky defense shows up finally shutting down Bear attack

Kentucky took the lead for the first time since it was 2-0 when Wheeler drove the baseline with 17:10 to play putting UK in front 47-46. The Georgia transfer was swarming the Miles players all night and gave his team back the lead with a steal at half court and goes for a layup and foul making it 49-48.

From there it was all Kentucky clamping down the defensive pressure we were all looking for forcing Miles into missing its first 9 three-point attempts of the half. At the other end, Kentucky started on a 14-2 run to open the second half thanks to Wheeler pumping in eight points.

Calipari saw the change but it still was far from perfection.

"“I thought in the second  half we played with more energy, defended better and had more energy rebounding the ball and away we went, but we still have guys holding it and ball faking so you know we got a ways to go.”"

That enabled Kentucky to go on a 24-9 run in the second half to completely flip the momentum to their side.

A huge part of that spark came off the bench with Jacob Toppin seeing his first action of the year after rehabbing from a shoulder injury.

Mr. Instant Engery game in to dial up 12 points knocking down 5 of 7 shots, made both free throws, and snared four rebounds in 16 minutes.

Dontaie Allen also off the bench took five threes and rattled three home, grabbed three boards, and blocked a pair of shots in 11 minutes.

"“I thought Jacob Toppin gave us energy. Now a couple of guys need to know that when you go in you may play well then someone else has to play less. You won’t believe it but we only have guys on the court. We have to deal with a little bit of that.  Kellan played well so that limited Davion’s minutes.”"

The second half saw a much better shooting effort and selection by the Wildcat hitting 17 of 32 shots and 5 of 8 three-pointers.

Wheeler led the way with 15 points, 6 assists, and two steals; Washington also added 15 points, 6 assists; Grady with a nice 13 points.

One area of concern is rebounding where Kentucky only won the battle 37-31.