UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY vs. UTAH
RUPP ARENA | LEXINGTON, KY.
DEC. 15, 2018
Final Score: No. 19/18 Kentucky 88, Utah 61
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky is 8-2 on the season and Utah is now 4-5.
Kentucky leads the series 10-2 and has won eight in a row.
Next for Kentucky: The Wildcats continue their stretch of five straight Saturday games, taking on North Carolina on Dec. 22 in Chicago’s United Center in the CBS Sports Classic. Game time is 5:15 p.m. ET and it will be televised, of course, by CBS.
Kentucky’s 1993 Final Four team was honored at halftime.
In the First Half
Kentucky started Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Reid Travis and PJ Washington for the third time this season. This lineup is now 1-2.
Kentucky got the first basket but Utah’s Booth Gach countered with eight straight points and another Utes basket made it 10-2 in favor of the visitors.
UK responded with a 12-2 spurt to make it 14-12.
Utah tied it at 14, but a Johnson 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a lead they never relinquished.
All totaled, UK’s run was 28-9, featuring 5-of-5 3-pointers by Johnson to shove the Cats ahead 30-19.
The last Wildcat with five 3s in a half was Wenyen Gabriel vs. Alabama in the SEC Tournament on March 10 of this year. Gabriel was 7 for 7 that game.
With 15 points from Johnson and 10 from Herro, UK took a 41-27 lead into halftime.
Key stat in the first was turnovers, as Kentucky forced 10 miscues, including three 30-second violations, and the Cats won points off turnovers 17-4 in the opening period.
In the Second Half
Kentucky opened the second stanza with the starting lineup.
UK increased the lead to 19 points at 48-29.
However, Utah got hot and made eight shots in a row to narrow the gap to 10 at 57-47.
Kentucky quelled the uprising when Johnson and Washington sparked a 13-0 run to rebuild a comfortable cushion.
The Wildcats led by as many as 28 points before finishing with an 88-61 win.
Turnovers were a huge difference-maker today. UK won the turnover battle 18-6 and the Wildcats capitalized with 34 points off turnovers, winning that stat 34-9.
UK limited Utah to 61 points. UK is 158-7 (.958) under Coach John Calipari when holding the opponent to 63 points or fewer, including 6-0 this season.
Kentucky blocked five shots today. UK has rejected at least four opponent shots in every game this season.
UK shot a season-high 58.6 percent from the field today. It is UK’s fourth game of the season over 50 percent.
Kentucky hit a season-best 57.1 percent from 3-point range, making a season-high 12 out of 21.
The win marked the 51st consecutive home victory over an unranked Associated Press poll nonconference opponent.
UK is now 231-39 under John Calipari against unranked competition.
UK is now 46-12 under Calipari in “bounce back” games after losses.
Kentucky improved to 241-5 (.980) under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game.
UK has won 11 in a row at Rupp Arena, dating back to last season.
Keldon Johnson had a red-hot first half with 15 points and finished with 24, his second-highest total of the season.
After a previous best of two 3-pointers, he made 6 of 7 from long range today.
The last Wildcat with six 3-pointers was Wenyen Gabriel, who made seven vs. Alabama on March 10, 2018.
This is Johnson’s third 20-point game of the season.
He has scored double figures in all but one game this season.
Tyler Herro hit for 17 points, one shy of his season high.
He is averaging 17 per game over the last three home games.
Reid Travis turned in 16 points today, his fifth straight double-figure game.
Immanuel Quickley had 12 points, matching his second highest total of the season.
It is his first double-figure game since North Dakota on Nov. 14.
Ashton Hagans had two points and a career-high seven assists.
Playing less than two minutes, Jemarl Baker Jr. scored his first points as a Wildcat by swishing a pair of 3-pointers.
Calipari is now 283-66 at UK.
Calipari has a 728-206 all-time on-court record.
He is now 14 wins away from tying Joe B. Hall for the second-most victories by a UK head coach in program history.