It started out with a struggle, the lowly Blackbirds matching the mighty Cats shot for shot and showed they weren’t intimidated by the more talented and highly heralded Wildcats. Had it not been for a 15-0 burst at the end of the first half, the Cats would have likely been down at the break. But big plays from freshmen Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress propelled the young wildcats to a 104-75 victory.
Fans of high-energy offensive games would have found themselves in Heaven tonight, with the two teams seemingly matching each other shot-for-shot all the way through the first half.
Goodwin was just one rebound and one assist shy of a triple double, which would only have been the second in UK history. He finished with 22 points on the night.
Poythress looked like a man among boys at times, playing hard and coming up with big plays when the Cats desperately needed them. He finished the night with 22 points and 9 rebounds (all on the defensive side).
It was another strong night for Jarrod Polson, the former walk-on and crowd favorite, playing quality minutes and scoring five points on 2-for-3 shooting.
Nerlens Noel had a good night on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, with a career-high 18 points, eight rebounds and five huge blocks.
Julius Mays had 15 for the Cats, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points off the bench to go along with eight rebounds. Kyle Wiltjer finished the game with seven points, and Jon Hood had three points in seven minutes of play.