What we learned from the NCAA tournament victory in Kentucky over the Wofford
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the eighth time in John Calipari’s 10 seasons, Kentucky basketball has advanced to Sweet 16.
2nd seed, the Wildcats moved to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament with a 62-56 victory over the 7th seed Wofford Sunday, breaking the 21 Terrier winning streak.
Kentucky controlled the game with 13-2 running just under four minutes into the second half, but Wofford drew in two points at 58-56 on the Keve Aluma layup with 37.9 seconds remaining.
Reid Travis scored two free throws in the following possession, and Wofford star Fletcher Magee failed to make his 3rd attempt in the game to end the Terrier chance to return.
Playing again without PJ Washington’s top scorer, Travis posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The new student point guard, Ashton Hagans, joined him in double numbers with 12 points remaining with four assists.
Magee, NCAA Division 1 career leader who produced 3 points, only scored eight points in the 4-of-17 shooting. He missed 12 of his 3 points in the game. The Terriers were able to keep things close thanks to Nathan Hoover’s 19 points in the 6-of-9 shooting.
Washington watched from the sidelines with a hard cast on a dislocated left foot for the second straight game.
This is what we learned from victory:
Big Baker Match: At one point in the first round, Calipari is cycling through bench players in almost every set piece, hoping to find someone who can help improve the offensive flow and maintain many Wofford jumpers. He finally found the answer in Baker, who contributed five points and a solid defense in six minutes. Kentucky outperformed Wofford by 10 points in the first round Baker, and trailed Terrier with eight points as he was on the bench in the round. Baker himself fell victim to the Calipari hook after one turnover, but when he returned to court for the second time he was ready for the challenge. With Keldon Johnson fighting a foul problem, Baker continued to play an important role in the second half, including in running which gave Kentucky control of the game. Baker finished the match with eight points.
About that junk talk: Kentucky might have won the game, but Wofford could take heart in holding himself in the paint battle despite forward English student Nick Richards stating before the Kentucky post player game was “just better” than the big Wofford man. Travis took the lead for Kentucky despite struggling against cramps in the second half, but Terriers remained close in points in paint (18-13) and really outperformed Kentucky in the second chance point (10-8). Kentucky recorded a 35-30 advantage in the rebound. Richards finished the match with three points and three rebounds.
Check rim: There is no very effective team from a distance of 3 points. Kentucky shot 23.1 percent (3 to 13), and Wofford shot 29.7 percent (8 to 27). The difference is that Kentucky proves the Calipari philosophy to ensure its violations do not depend on 3 wise ones while Wofford cannot overcome elite shooters who usually have cold nights.