(Photo: Andy Lyons/ Getty Images)
With the loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT last season still fresh on the minds of Cat fans, a bad start in the first half was something they didn't want to see. They were pleasantly surprised as the Cats rushed out to an early 10-1 lead and never really looked back as they put together one of the best first halves of the season. Everyone played well, but specifically Aaron Harrison.
****NOTE***** Kentucky started five freshman (Marcus Lee, Julius Randle, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and James Young) for the first time in school history.
Harrison seemed to find his missing outside shot in the first half as he connected on 3-5 (should've been 4-6 from three when Aaron hit an impossible 3/4 court heave at the end of the half only to have it waved off for a traveling violation that didn't seem to really have happened when watching the replay) from deep to jump start the Cats early. It seemed that Aaron was everywhere on the floor and doing everything right at just the right time scoring 19pts in the first half. Outside shooting wasn't the only bright spot for Aaron in the first half, going 8-8 from the free-throw line was another added bonus. In-fact, Kentucky as a team shot 87.5% from the charity stripe going 14-16 in the first half, something they had to improve on after the poor free-throw shooting they showed last week against Michigan State.
The second half saw much of the same as the first as Kentucky came out and pushed their lead to 30 in what seemed like in a matter of seconds. One thing you can tell this team has worked on since the MSU game is transition defense. The Colonials had 0 fast break points, a huge difference from the MSU game. The one thing that didn't seem right about this game was the play of Julius Randle. Sure he finished the game with a double-double (10pts, 15rebs), but the body language he showed tonight just didn't look like Julius in the first three games. I'm not sure what was going on, but you could just tell he wasn't into the game at all tonight. As a matter of fact, Randle went out of the game with 4:30 to go in the game and never returned.
Overall, Kentucky dominated Robert Morris and showed us what actually should've happened last year in the NIT.
The play of Aaron Harrison is something that can not be ignored as he went 7-12 from the floor, 4-7 from three and 10-10 from the free-throw line ending his night with a career high, 28 points.
Cats won going away 87-49, that's more like it...