Cats send Saints marching home with 103-61 loss

10/28/2017 12:27 AM

By Tim Meredith

The Thomas More Saints came marching in to Rupp Arena Friday night and two hours later were sent home with a 103-61 loss, courtesy of the latest collection of Kentucky Wildcats.

The home team didn’t dominate the entire game, but it came close. Freshman forward Kevin Knox scored the first points of the contest on a dunk 30 seconds into the game. Thomas More tied the game with Ryne Callahan’s layup 24 seconds later. After that, UK started to show its superiority.

That’s not to say there weren’t rough spots for the Cats to overcome. They extended their lead to 15 points midway through the first half before Thomas More rallied, outscoring Kentucky 11-2 in less than two minutes. The Wildcats missed five shots during that stretch.

Leading just 23-17, Coach John Calipari called a timeout, which seemed to get his players’ motors going again. UK gradually pulled away from the Saints, enjoying a halftime lead of 53-30.

Kevin Knox scored 14 of his game high 27 in the first stanza. Sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones had seven of his eight rebounds in the first half. Calipari praised him after the game for that effort, especially on the offensive boards, where Killeya-Jones grabbed five missed shots.

The second half was more of the same, with the only real question being could the Cats top the century mark on the scoreboard in the first exhibition game of the new season
For a while, it looked like they might fall short, stalling at 99 for more than a minute and a half. Then, with 48 ticks left on the game clock, Nick Richards followed a missed Jonny David free throw, putting UK into triple digits, delighting those fans who stayed in Rupp Arena to the very end.

Two Wildcats finished the night with double-doubles. Freshman PJ Washington scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while sophomore Wenyen Gabriel had 11 and 10.
Point guard Quade Green hit 3 of 4 from beyond the arc for UK, accounting for his 9 points. But the rest of his team showed it needs to work on its accuracy from long distance, going only 2 for 12.

Damion King, a junior guard from Winchester, led Thomas More with 13 points.

Kentucky is back in action Monday night with an “extra” exhibition game against Morehead State. Proceeds from the game will benefit disaster relief for victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires.

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