The Cats escape with a four point victory over Vermont



Phillip Hawkins

In just their second game of the season, the No. 5 Wildcats defeated the Vermont Catamounts 73-69. The Cats were in control most of the game, jumping out to as much as a 14-point lead. Kentucky went on to win by four in a second half shootout.

The Cats opened up the game going on a 9-0 run giving them a 13-4 lead with 13:30 left in the first half. Vermont wouldn’t go away without a fight. The Catamounts went on their own 9-0 run, tying the game at 13-13. After the runs, both teams stayed consistent, with UK taking a 36-24 lead at halftime.

The first half was a dominant one for freshman forward PJ Washington. Washington went into the second half with nine points and five rebounds. He was able to continue his strong play in the second half, finishing the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds. This was Washington’s first double-double of the season.

Defense was a major key during the first half for the Cats. UK held Vermont to just 32 percent shooting, making only 10 of their 31 shots. Also forcing five turnovers with five blocked shots, their length caused a lot of problems for the Catamount offense.

Vermont was led by forward Anthony Lamb, who scored 15 points and seven rebounds. Scoring points and pulling down rebounds, he was able to keep the Catamounts in the game throughout. Lamb was also helped by Vermont guard Trae Bell-Haynes, who scored 16 points and had five assists. Bell-Haynes and Lamb were the two high scorers for Vermont.

The player of the game for the Wildcats was freshman shooting guard Hamidou Diallo. Diallo lead the team in scoring with 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half. He also dished out three assists, a steal and a block.

Diallo was helped out a lot by freshman point guard Quade Green. Green scored seven points to start the half and help give the Cats a 14-point lead. Green finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. Thirteen of Green’s 15 points came in the second half helping the Cats escape with the win.

The Cats’ next game will be on Tuesday night when they face the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks in the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago.

After the close win against Vermont, UK will need the next few days to prepare before they face another top five team.