Kentucky seeks a better shot in the opening home game vs Robert Morris
The Kentucky Wildcats No. 10 will be hoping to regain the shooting touch when they host Robert Morris in their home opener Friday night in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Wildcats (0-1) fired just 37.7 percent from the field in their opening game loss to the Duke, 79-71, Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Kentucky started the game by missing the first five shots.
“We definitely fought back,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said afterwards. “We were in the game – 37.7% of the field. That’s not good, and we’re still in the game.”
Only one Wildcat managed to convert more than half of its attempts. Oscar Cheboye managed 8 of his 14 shots on his way to the team’s highest level with 17 points. Transferring a novice from West Virginia, he also had 19 rebounds, a school record for a player on his debut in Kentucky, in his double-double career.
Safar Wheeler scored 16 points but needed 15 attempts to score six goals. Transferring a novice from Georgia, Wheeler has had 10 assists in his ninth double career.
TyTy Washington, who scored 33 points in the two-show wins over Kentucky Wesleyan and Miles College, struggled with just nine points in a 3-of-14 shootout.
Calipari took responsibility for Washington’s struggles, saying he asked the new guard to shoot more after making only 22 attempts in the two fairs. He was 6 of 6 in three attempts for those matches, but he missed his only attempt from behind the arc against Duke.
And I just said to him, ‘You know, boy, you don’t have to shoot every shot,’ said Calipari. You cannot miss them all. You have to make one or two.” “And he was missing a bunch of shots. And if you watch him play, that’s not him.”
Kentucky’s biggest advantage was in the offensive rebound. Of the 19 boards Chiboy played, 12 were on his offensive end, helping Kentucky have a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Robert Morris (0-1) dropped the opener 69-59 Wednesday night at the UCF in the second of three road games to start the season. This will be the Colonials’ second trip to Lexington since they pulled a stunning 59-57 wildcat from the Wildcats at the 2013 NIT.
“I feel like some of the guys on our team weren’t even born when I played that game,” coach Robert Morris, Andy Tolle, told triblive.com. “It feels like he’s getting away from us.”
This game was played in Pittsburgh because Kentucky’s Rupp Arena home was not available. Robert Morris lost the rematch 87-49 the following season at Robb.
Toole welcomes novices, Kahliel Spear (9.9 points, 1.3 blocks per game) and Kam Farris (8.3 ppg, 46.1 percent 3-point shot), and adds seven transfers: Rasheem Dunn (St. John’s), Ferron Flavors Jr. (Oklahoma State), Jaron Williams (Utah Martin), Justin Winston (Saint Bonaventure), Mattia Aconzo (Toledo). Brandon Stone (La Salle) and goalkeeper Michael Green III (Bryant).
Like Kentucky, Robert Morris struggled off the field in the loss to the UCF, going to 20 of 61 (32.8 percent). Dunn and returnee Enoch Cheeks scored 12 points each to lead the Colonials in the scoring, while Speer added 10 points. Cheeks, a sophomore guard, had 10 rebounds for his first collective double.
–Field Media Level