Diallo and Knox lead UK over Harvard


Hamidou Diallo misses a dunk attempt in the first half of Kentucky’s game against Harvard at Rupp Arena on Dec. 2, 2017. Photo by Genna Melendez.

After a week of rest days and practice, the Kentucky basketball team improved their record to 7-1 on Saturday afternoon by defeating Harvard 79-70.

Kevin Knox led the Cats in scoring for the fourth time this season, pouring in 20 points. Hamidou Diallo was close behind with 19 points of his own, which tied his career-high set in the previous game. 

The pair got off to a hot start, scoring 16 of Kentucky’s first 20 points in just over nine minutes. Knox and Diallo would finish with 27 of UK’s 42 first half points, 16 coming from Knox.

The Cats shot 50 percent overall in the first half, while Harvard shot at a 41 percent clip. The Crimson was able to stay in the game by knocking down seven threes in the first half, four of which came from Seth Towns.

The Cats would take a five-point lead into halftime, and stretch that lead to 10 in just over five minutes into the second half. However, Harvard would score five straight points, starting with a three from Towns, to trim UK’s lead to five.

UK would respond with a 17-2 run, including a 13-0 spurt in the middle of the half to open up their lead to 20. Diallo scored six points during the run, which officially tied his old career high at 19.

A lot of the points from the run came in transition, which was started by good defense from the Cats. UK had two blocks and three steals during the run, which helped shut down Harvard’s defense while the Cats opened up their big lead. 

Kentucky’s offense would go cold near the end of the game, allowing Harvard to crawl back into the game. A 9-0 run by the Crimson pulled Harvard within 11 points of UK’s lead with 2:52 remaining. The Cats would hold a double-digit lead until Towns’ sixth three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining trimmed UK’s lead to nine, which was the final play of the game.

Another thing that helped the Cats pull away from Harvard was their 24 second half points in the paint. Big men Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones both finished with nine points, which was a new career-high for Killeya-Jones.

Up next for the Cats is the Citi Hoops Classic, where Kentucky will face Monmouth at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is set for noon.