Kentucky Basketball deja vu again as slow start followed by feasting on Osprey

Kentucky Wildcats guard TyTy Washington Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats guard TyTy Washington Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 4

Watching this Kentucky basketball team so far is like watching Groundhog Day. They are fun to watch even if every outing in this seven-game home stretch begins with a slow start and follows by a runaway win.

On Friday the overmatched yet ambitious opponent was North Florida, but the Osprey fared as the other four teams in 14 days leaving Lexington with a loss.

Kentucky (5-1) came out looking stuffed from Thanksgiving, but late in the first half the hangover was over and the Wildcats rolled to an 86-52 win.

While the competition hasn’t been fierce they have been feisty and forced Kentucky to step of their game, but what is different from past seasons is they are fun to watch and really don’t have many faults to get Big Blue Nation too frustrated.

Sure they can play better and you can say they haven’t played a complete 40-minute game, but in reality, no team actually does this. That’s impossible just six games in and with a new roster of talent.

What matters is that they pick their moments and execute when the spark ignites them.

Kentucky basketball another thin bench yields playing time for youngsters

Plus again they did not have a full bench of available players. It seems as one returns another gets sidelines. On Friday, two returned and two were sidelined with undisclosed reasons.

Lance Ware and Jacob Toppin were back in Rupp Arena bringing energy, but Davion Mintz missed his second straight game and Keion Brooks was pulled just before tipoff with an illness. Neither played but and you could tell were gassed after a few sprints up and down the floor.

It was an atrocious start that saw UK miss its first 10 three-point tries to start the game until TyTy Washington drained one from the right corner giving the Cats a 31-21 lead with 2:40 to play in the first half.

Just two minutes prior Washington rang up his first basket with 4:16 left following a block by Oscar Tshiebwe that kickstarted a fast break.

Big Blue may have started slow but they scored 23 of the last 30 points of the first half and led 37-23 at the break.

The score and stats were eerily similar to the Albany win on Monday with Kentucky scoring the same first-half point total and North Florida just 5 off that Great Dane score at the break.

Kentucky knocked down 21 of 39 shots in the second half including 5 of 13 from long range. Their defense also forced 21 turnovers that resulted in 20 UK points. The defense was also vigilant in not committing silly fouls. In fact, North Florida didn’t shoot a free throw till 6:40 left in the game.

A few other quick takeaways from the victory.