Kentucky basketball smooth sailing Bahamas win over undersized foe

Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /

Thus far it’s been smooth sailing for the Kentucky basketball team in the Big Blue Bahamas exhibition tour as two foes have offered a very little fight with Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) the latest team to walk the plank 102-40 on Thursday night at Baha Mar Resort.

On Wednesday they blasted the Dominican Select team 108-56. It doesn’t take much math but it is an astounding combined score of 210 points for the Cats while only allowing a mere 96 points.

Truth be told the Mexican team was way overmatched and undersized to compete with the much bigger, longer, and more talented Wildcats to put up much of a fight. The tallest player was 6-foot-7 and most of the roster was well under 6-foot-5.

Kentucky would lead by as many as 67 points before easing to the 62-point victory.

While Wildcat fans can only glean so much from victory number two in the four-game tour, we can pick out a few things just to keep things amped up in anticipation of what is shaping up to be very unselfish, and polished, and deep squad for coach John Calipari.

You can’t really dissect much from a game like this and just for the heck of it I’ll select the one negative and it was some poor three-point shooting against Tec. The Wildcats were only 7 of 26 for 27 percent.

Ok, that’s it, otherwise, they blew every other stat out of the Atlantic waters in dramatic fashion.

The gaudiest stat that jumps out is the 65 rebounds that Kentucky pulled down. Yes, 65 – 41 defensive and 24 offensive. Even more, astonishing is that Tec only took a total of 62 shots in the game.

Kentucky basketball has lots of double-double scorers

It is evident that no matter who the opponent is this season this Kentucky basketball squad has multiple players capable of notching double-doubles on any given night. Such was the case with four Wildcats doing so Thursday night.

Sahvir Wheeler dropped in 14 points and handed out10 assists while Chris Livingston had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Oscar Tshiebwe didn’t have to work too hard to get 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Jacob Toppin notched 12 points and grabbed 11 boards.

Big Blue had three others net double figures in the game. Adou Thiero had 13 points (6 rebounds) while Antonio Reeves added 11 (6 rebounds) and Daimion Collins had 10 points, five rebounds and one impressive two-handed block as the Tec player tried to launch a shot out of the corner. He will have recurring nightmares about that block.

Collins for sure will be a highlight reel every game it seems.

Tom Hart and Dane Bradshaw on the SEC Network broadcast said it looked like Kentucky was playing a sixth-grade team.

Lance Ware didn’t play due to a minor shoulder injury.

Toppin, Fredrick interviews each talked maturity and leadership

While Jacob Toppin and CJ Fredrick will be big contributors on the floor at different times and in different ways it’s clear both have two mutual traits they bring to the team most – maturity and leadership.

At halftime, there was a taped interview with Toppin and at the conclusion of the game, Fredrick was on with Hart and Bradshaw, and listening to each was clear both seniors are clear leaders on this team.

Both were well-spoken and oozed confidence in their respective interviews.

We have watched Toppin for three seasons grow leaps and bounds and his instant energy and commitment have clearly earned him a starting spot.

Fredrick, we needed desperately last season for his shooting due to the lack of shooters and their respective injuries, but he was injured the entire season after transferring in from Iowa. The Northern Kentucky native spoke about how he hasn’t been in a game for almost a year and a half but is ready.

He played well and Calipari graded and lauded his performance Wednesday as the best defender. We can’t wait to see the sniper knock them down in Rupp.

Both spoke about how it’s their responsibility to be leaders of this team.

Next up to walk the plank is Carleton University from Canada

Kentucky basketball has the day off on Friday as they are doing samaritan work with the local kids washing feet and providing shoes for youngsters.

On Saturday it’s back to the court to face off with Carleton University out of Ottawa, Ontario. They are young but much bigger in size. They have a 6-10 player in Marko Braticevic, a pair of 6-9 players in Evan Meyer and Gebrael Samaha, 6-7 Elliot Bailey, and a duo of 6-foot-6 players.

The Ravens lost 104-91 to Northeastern and 98-64 to Florida State in the Can-Am Shootout last week.

Next. Wildcats lower the Bahama boom. dark