LEXINGTON, Ky- Despite not shooting particularly well through the first nine games this season, you knew Kentucky had the personnel to break out in a big way. That player that opened things up in the tonight, at least in the first half, was Keldon Johnson.
Kentucky’s leading scorer sunk three straight deep balls on consecutive possessions, turning an early 10-2 Utah lead into a Kentucky double-digit lead.
Johnson led the way with 15 first-half points, with all of his five buckets coming from behind the three-point line. Tyler Herro chipped in 10 points for Kentucky.
It was a sleepy start for Kentucky who was playing for the first time this season with nine scholarship players, following the departure of Quade Green. But the place woke up a little after Johnson had his clinic from behind the line, plus the introduction of Kentucky football stars Josh Allen and Benny Snell, among others.
Kentucky shot the ball over 50% as a team in the first half, and while the Utes didn’t shoot it that bad themselves at 40%, they instead struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over 10 times in the opening frame. Kentucky only turned it over three times.
Reid Travis took over the final two minutes of the first half scoring all six of his points. Tyler Herro finished the first half off by beating the buzzer with a three to give UK the 41-27 halftime lead.