At 3-0, averaging 80+points per game, the Portland Pilots were supposed to provide a tough tune-up for Kentucky just prior to their trip to Maui. Instead, the Wildcats took control early and routed the Oregon team, 79-48.
The Wildcat defense was smothering and clearly shook up the Pilots early on. Portland coach Eric Reveno admitted that the young Kentucky team forced a lot of poor shooting, "Their ability to recover was tremendous," Reveno said, "Fear is not the right word. You rush because you know they're coming fast."
While UK held the Pilots to just over 30% shooting, the sizzled from the floor with their own shooting, nearly 55% for the game, including an impressive 8-18 from beyond the three-point line.
Kentucky coach John Calipari scheduled the game as a favor to freshman Terrence Jones, the former UW commit who won three Oregon 5A state championships at Portland's Jefferson High. The game didn't turn out quite as planned for Jones, who scored 12 points and had five rebounds on 30 minutes of action.
Even beyond the Jones homecoming, the game came with other pregame hype. Portland guard Jared Stohl, one of the nation's best 3-point shooters, made more three pointers than he's missed this season, and talked a little smack with a prediction from out of leftfield.
"Hope to see you out there Friday," Stohl said in a 10-second video message to Portland fans. "We're going to need you guys when we beat Kentucky."
The Cats left for Hawaii Friday night after the game and will have two full days of rest prior to the Maui Invitational.