Cats blow out Buffalo to advance to Sweet 16


Kentucky freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander celebrates after making a three during the game against Buffalo in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Cody Ryan

The 5-seed UK basketball team proved too much for its opponent as the Cats advanced to the Sweet 16 by knocking off 13-seed Buffalo 95-75 in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday.

Kentucky started the game by scoring 14 of its first 18 points in the paint, including four big dunks.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 17 points going 6-6 from the field in the first half, tearing up Buffalo’s defense with his footwork and dribble moves.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists. He only missed two shots all game, both in the second half.

Buffalo’s three-point shooting kept the Bulls in the game, but Hamidou Diallo’s energy gave the Cats the edge in the first half. Diallo had two blocks, two rebounds and four points in the first half.

Buffalo’s 16 second-chance points at halftime doubled what Kentucky managed to score on the glass. This kept them in the game at the half.

UK led Buffalo 51-42 at the break. While the Cats shot 59 percent from the field at halftime, Buffalo made 35 percent from the field.

Buffalo cut the lead to four early in the second half, but Diallo continued playing with energy and that’s as close as Buffalo got.

Diallo ended the game with 22 points and seven rebounds. Diallo hasn’t had a 20-point game since he had back-to-back 20-point games in December.

Kevin Knox picked up three fouls in the first half after starting the game 4-5 from the field. Knox finished with eight points, all scored in the first half.

After the Cats broke the 30-year streak of making a three-point basket in a game on Thursday, Quade Green hit a three-point basket with 8:30 left in the first half.

Wenyen Gabriel grabbed six rebounds and poured in eight points at the half. Gabriel finished with a double-double, having 16 points and 11 rebounds.

UK will travel to Atlanta for its Sweet 16 game on Thursday. The Cats will play the winner of 9-seed Kansas State versus 16-seed UMBC.