Game breakdown from UK’s win over Stephen F. Austin


Senior guard Dominique Hawkins dribbles into the lane during the game against Stephen F. Austin on Friday, November 11, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

By Chris Angolia

In UK’s 87-64 victory over Stephen F. Austin Friday night, things were not exactly smooth for the young Cats, but nonetheless the team was able to begin to work around its difficulties.

For head coach John Calipari it is just another year with a lot of young talent and things are going to take time, and Friday night was no different. There were lots of high points that showed what this team is capable off, and there were also some times in which the team looked inexperienced.

While things may not have been completely crisp, the Cats were still able to work around the bumps and pick up the victory.

Here are some other notes from Fridays game:

MVP: De’Aaron Fox

In his debut, Fox continued to impress the Big Blue Nation picking up right where left off in the exhibition games.

Despite a somewhat slow start in his first game, Fox was able to get going midway through the first half. It was not only the scoring that started to get going, but his innate ability to pass the ball got the whole team going as well. Finishing with six points and six assists in the first half, Fox carried that over to the second half.

Fox finished with 12 points and 12 assists, which broke a UK record for most assists in a player’s debut. While Fox may have had some opening night jitters, he put all those aside to have a big debut on all ends of the court.

Game Defining Moment: Stephen F. Austin fouling

While there was not a truly ‘defining’ moment in Friday night’s game, the two fouls that the Lumberjacks picked up in the first two minutes of the game did not help their cause. Not only that, but the Lumberjacks put the Cats in the bonus early in the game and from that point on, it became an uphill climb.

Trying to go on the road and hang with one of the elite teams in college basketball is already difficult to being with, but the Lumberjacks giving UK free points definitely did not help their cause.

Trending Up: Big men off the bench

As many wondered what coach Calipari’s rotation of his big men would be this season, fans were able to find out early on after Bam Adebayo picked up two quick fouls at the beginning of the game. The fouls forced Calipari to get his bigs involved quickly.

Issac Humphries and Wenyen Gabriel were called upon early and often. Both guys ended up playing double-digit minutes in the first half, but did not show any signs of fatigue or struggle in their roles.

When it was all said and done, Humphries finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds in 19 minutes, and Gabriel finished with 10 points and two boards in 18 minutes. It is definitely a positive sign for Calipari to see both big men thrown in so quickly and be able to contribute off the bench.

Trending Up: Isaiah Briscoe’s offense

Coming into the season, a big question was Briscoe’s offensive ability outside of the paint, but the sophomore guard began to answer that question Friday night. 

Briscoe finished with 17 points on 6-11 shooting including 1-3 from deep and 4-7 from the line. The higher percentage is already a positive sign and even on the missed shots, Briscoe’s shot looked much better and will only continue to improve moving forward.

Trending Down: Bam Adebayo

The highly touted freshman had a tough debut Friday, and while the regular season opener is tough enough as a freshman at UK, Bam made things harder than they had to be. Two quick fouls in the first two minutes of the game forced Calipari to sit the big man which took him out of his rhythm.

Unfortunately for Bam, he would never be able to find his rhythm finishing with 5 points and just one rebound.

While the numbers may seem alarming to some, especially the rebounds, it was evident that Bam had a difficult time recovering from foul trouble. And moving forwards, don’t expect Adebayo to struggle as much as he did Friday.