UK basketball dominates Thomas More 103-61 in first exhibition


Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo shoots a basket during the game against Thomas More at Rupp Arena on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

At UK basketball’s first exhibition against another team Friday, the Cats dominated the Thomas More Saints 103-61. The Saints’ starters were all from the state of Kentucky, and struggled against the players that recently moved to the bluegrass state.

The Cats scored 53 points in the first half, thanks to 14 points and several dunks from forward Kevin Knox, who played 14 minutes in the half. PJ Washington contributed nine more as the team shot 50% from the floor.

The defense was also extremely engaged, notching six steals and three blocks. They held the Saints to 6-26 shooting in the first half, denying them a made field goal for over 12 game minutes during the first. The Saints would finish the game shooting 29.6 percent from the floor. UK guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would lead the game in steals, taking the ball away four times.

Despite the domination by the Cats, the most daunting statistic of the game was the large number of fouls called. In the first half alone, the teams combined for 31 fouls and earning 30 of the game’s 83 points from the free throw line. In the second half, the teams played much cleaner, only committing 21 fouls.

Turnovers were also an issue for Calipari’s young team, as the Cats committed 17 enroute to their dominant victory. Washington committed four, including two straight to start the game.

In the second half, the game was just as dominant than the first. Even though Thomas More moved the ball effectively, the Cats still extended their lead in the second period. The Saints shot a more effective 35.7 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from deep, led by guard Damion King’s eight second half points. However, it wasn’t enough for the physical Cats, who notched 11 total steals and 58 points in the paint.

The rebounding advantage went heavily in UK’s favor as well, as Thomas More’s tallest player (6-6 Simon Clifford) would have been the sixth shortest on UK’s roster. The Cats outrebounded the Saints 49-26, with Gabriel and Washington notching double-doubles in points and rebounds.

The Cats will take to the court Monday at 7 p.m. for their non-televised charity exhibition against Morehead State.