Kentucky Basketball: Cats unleash the beast while Collins finds his wings

Daimion Collins of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Daimion Collins of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Kentucky basketball team unleashed its beast Oscar Tshiebwe in the paint, while freshman Daimion Collins found his wings soaring high over Robert Morris as the Wildcats routed the Colonials 100-60 for their first win of the season.

Big Blue Nation got to see what greatness this team possesses and the limitless sky it can aspire to fly in as six players scored in double figures helping UK rebound from a hard-fought battle loss they took at the hands of Duke 77-17 in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night.

Barely practicing after arriving home from New York in the middle of the night Wednesday morning they appeared to realize what went wrong and what they needed to work on.

While there are still issues on defense it’s clear this team possesses weapons galore and when one is missing its mark there are plenty of others that can fill the void.

Kentucky basketball has six in double figures gets the offense rolling

Against Duke, they ran into a Blue Devil team that was ready to roll in game one, while the Wildcats are still seeking how to mold a deep and mature group of players that just needed time on the court to start gelling.

Robert Morris proved to be the mold for Kentucky to come together and take its frustration from game one out on.

John Calipari in his post-game news conference was asked about the offensive he saw.

"“Today Davion [Mintz] did exactly what I want him to do: Be that guy. You don’t have to make every shot, but don’t miss two and then start driving it and going crazy. Just shoot balls. I thought Kellan [Grady] was good today again. He just plays within himself. Our guard play, I like the fact that assist, turnovers and Oscar [Tshiebwe], he knew we needed one more rebound for 20.”"

Tshiebwe’s work ethic is off the insanity charts recording another double-double with 14 points and snaring 20 rebounds for the second game in a row. He also rejected three shots.

SEC Network analyst Daymion Fishback asked him after the game who he idolized growing up.

"“I watched Kareem and LeBron when I was a kid those are the people who motivate me how they work how they came out every night. You have to improve you have to do good every day. LeBron is like 36 now and proves you never have to give up.”"

Spelling him is normally Lance Ware but he only played one-minute nursing an injury but Collins was expected to get lots of minutes to get his game going.

And going he did.

The high flyer slammed down two dunks worthy of SportsCenter’s Top 10 on his way to 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, and a steal. His actions brought down the Rupp Arena house as he showed why coach John Calipari was begging for him to show him just what he can do leading up the season.

Robert Morris (0-2) had no answer anywhere on the floor getting nearly doubled in rebounds 43 to 24, making just 23 of 61 field goals, 7 of 22 from 3-point range. They never led in the game.

So what quick observations do we take away from this victory in the Kentucky Classic game? Here we go.

No. 1 This Kentucky basketball team is well balanced at every position

The Wildcats nearly had seven players reach double figures in scoring with Dontaie Allen just two points away from joining the double-digit squad.

Kellan Grady showed why he was a 2,000 point scorer at Davison as the graduate transfer knocked down 19 points hitting 7 of 11 field goals while making good on 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He also got three steals and an assist in 25 minutes of action.

He has such a smooth shot and if you sleep on him while he camps in the corners he will burn you nearly every time.

Complimenting him from the other side is Davion Mintz who came back for another Covid season to win a national championship. Big Blue knows what he can do and Friday it was hitting 4 of the 5 threes he took for 14 points, grabbed two rebounds, and handed out four assists.

Mintz was asked about the UK offense this year.

"“It’s a hard guard. You have guys starting that can make shots, guys coming off the bench that can make shots. So, you always have to be aware of certain guys on the floor at all times. It is definitely different, playing at a faster pace. You have guys that can get up and catch alleys. It’s different threats every single night, so it’s fun.”"

Keion Brooks Jr. added 13 points in the effort but only managed one rebound and a block. He needs to be more aggressive and active on the boards and is more than capable of doing so. He will have to when the Cats tangle with bigger teams.

In 10 minutes Allen added eight points, one rebound, one assist, and two blocked shots.

TyTy Washington who struggled against Duke got his game going tallying 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. He wasn’t pressing and forcing like Tuesday night.

Sahvir Wheeler showcased why he came to Kentucky to run the point. The Georgia transfer dropped in five points, but dished out 11 assists and had three steals, often leading to fast-break points.