UK shows signs of rebounding potential against Troy


Kentucky fights for a rebound during the game against Troy University on Monday, November 20, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 70-62. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Phillip Hawkins

Rebounding was a major key to No. 8 Kentucky’s win over the Troy Trojans Monday night. The Cats pulled out a 70-62 victory in a game they had control of throughout most of the contest. 

Averaging only 38.2 rebounds as a team through the first four games, Monday’s win was a significant improvement in the department, as UK outrebounded Troy 53-30. The 53 rebounds were a season high for John Calipari’s team, breaking their previous high of 40 in the last game against ETSU. 

In the win over Troy, six of the ten players who played grabbed five or more rebounds. The leader of the team in rebounds was Hamidou Diallo. Diallo pulled down a career high 10 rebounds to go along with eight points.

“I came out today knowing that’s something I want to start focusing on as the season goes on,” Diallo said.

Watch: Hamidou Diallo postgame interview

Averaging only 3.8 rebounds a game up until Monday, his improved rebounding will be needed as the season goes on. 

Helping Diallo out in the rebounding column were big men P.J. Washington and Nick Richards. Each player had eight rebounds in the win.

Richards had eight points to go along with his eight rebounds, while Washington had four points and four assists to go with his eight rebounds. This was back to back games where Washington pulled down eight rebounds. He is averaging 5.8 boards on the season. 

Rebounding became a major focus after Kentucky got outrebounded in the first half of their four point loss to Kansas. Six players with five or more rebounds is the most out of the four games the Cats have played this season.

The last time a John Calipari coached Kentucky team reached 53 rebounds in a game was back in January of 2015 when the Cats faced Texas A&M on the road.  If the Cats have hopes of making it far come March, continuing to grab rebounds as a team will be huge come tournament time. 

Pulling down 38 defensive rebounds is tied for the second most defensive rebounds at Kentucky since Calipari’s arrival. Using their length to their advantage, crashing the glass should be no problem for this young team.

The Cats’ next game will be Wednesday night at Rupp Arena against the Fort Wayne Mastodons. The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network.