Three takeaways Kentucky basketball overtime win Saint Joseph's
Kentucky basketball wins 96-88 in overtime against Saint Joseph's. Freshmen players make winning plays. Sheppard excels with 5 steals.
Kentucky basketball pulled out a thrilling 96-88 overtime victory over Saint Joseph's on Monday night at Rupp Arena. Despite facing a team that had lost to Texas A&M-Commerce just last Friday, the Wildcats found themselves in a tight game that required extra time to determine the winner. John Calipari's squad, which was playing with just eight players, was able to make the crucial plays in overtime to secure the win.
The game saw a mix of veterans and freshmen stepping up for Kentucky. Tre Mitchell, a 6-foot-9 grad transfer, hit a pair of clutch three-pointers to give the Cats a lead in overtime. Freshmen D.J. Wagner, Robert Dillingham, and Justin Edwards also made key contributions, with Wagner scoring seven points in the extra period. Despite their youth, the young players were able to maintain their composure and execute when it mattered most.
Reed Sheppard, who had a standout performance on Friday, did not have a scoring night to remember. However, he made significant contributions in other areas, tallying five steals, four assists, and four rebounds. Even though he didn't make a basket, Sheppard's impact was evident, as he finished with a plus-16 plus/minus rating. His versatility and ability to impact the game in multiple ways earned praise from Calipari.
Kentucky's three-point shooting was a major factor in the win, as they made 12 of 25 attempts from beyond the arc. Mitchell, Antonio Reeves, and Edwards were among the players who knocked down crucial shots from deep. Saint Joseph's coach Billy Lange commended Kentucky's transition game but also acknowledged the team's ability to spot up and hit three-pointers as a potential strength.
Overall, the Wildcats' ability to pull out a hard-fought win in overtime showcased their resilience and potential. The victory can serve as a confidence booster for the young team, as they continue to grow and develop throughout the season. Kentucky's performance in the game highlighted their ability to make winning plays and execute under pressure, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.