It was a game of firsts for Kyle Wiltjer against Lipscomb University. It was his first game of the season coming off the bench and, more importantly, it was the first game of his college career in which he posted a double-double – 23 points and 12 rebounds. Wiltjer was nearly unstoppable behind the arc going 7 of 9 from the three. Performances such as these are exactly what the Wildcats need in its games going forward particularly with its match up with arch-rival Louisville fast approaching as well as SEC conference play.
Nerlens Noel turned in a balanced game with 7 points, 7 blocks, and 9 rebounds but would eventually foul out a little over five minutes before the final buzzer. The rest of the starting five turned in solid performances as well with Ryan Harrow’s perhaps being the most encouraging after turning in a season high of 12 points. Harrow has struggled since his return from his four game absence, but today marked the second straight solid effort from the sophomore transfer.
Despite the lopsided score, the 1st half deficit was mostly in single digits until the 5:29 mark when Ryan Harrow’s layup put the Wildcats up 10. The Cats would eventually go into the locker room at halftime up 14 before a 2nd half 12-point run in the game’s opening 10 minutes put the game out of reach for Lipscomb.
Emotions were elevated during the game as both Lipscomb and Kentucky picked up 2 technical fouls each. The first came early in the 1st half against Lipscomb guard Deonte Alexander who’s trash talk got him into trouble with the refs. Alexander picked up his second and got booted from the game after an exchange with Noel in the 2nd half that would also get Kentucky’s big man hit with a technical as well. Willie Caulie-Stein got the game’s second on a ridiculous call for an obscure technicality.
The Wildcats will face the Thundering Herd of Marshall University next on December 22nd before their anticipated game with the Louisville Cardinals at the Yum! Center on December 29th.