Ramel Bradley and Randolph Morris teed off on Mississippi Valley State early, combining for 11 of Kentucky's first 15 points, powering the Wildcats to an early 15-0 run. Freshmen Perry Stevenson, Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper chipped in early on with blocked shots, transition points and nifty passing and the Cats extended the lead to 29-5 at the 9:05 mark, and the Wildcats cruised the rest of the way. The final was Wildcats 79-56.
UK improved to 2-0 in its final test before heading to Hawaii for the Maui Classic.
Bradley was sizzling tonight, dropping in a game high 21 points on 8-11 FG shooting (5-7 3-point FG), 5 assists and two steals. Perhaps more importantly, Bradley committed only two turnovers. "What I like about (his play tonight) was the way he ran the team tonight," said coach Tubby Smith after the game, "He's always been a vocal player, but tonight he really was orchestrating, getting people in the right spots and communicating. He graded out very high in the last game even though he had seven turnovers. He still graded out as our top player."
Center Randolph Morris also had a big night with 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. The most glaring stat for Randolph, however, was that he had zero fouls in 25 minutes. The last time Morris played over 20 minutes in a game without committing a single foul was... well, never. In fact, in Morris' career at UK, he only failed to commit a foul in one other game ever, a game against Louisville where he played only 17 total minutes. "He's doing some good things, staying on the high side (defensively)," Smith said, "You look at his (stat) line and he's doing exactly what we want him to do. I was very impressed with the way he played tonight. He showed a lot of maturity by staying out of foul trouble."
The freshmen once again played a significant role in the Wildcats win. Freshman Jodie Meeks chipped in with 13 points. Perry Stevenson had eight points and four more blocked shots (giving him a 2-game total of 11) and Derrick Jasper stepped up with seven points (on 3-4 FG shooting) four assists, and five big steals.
The Wildcats now fly to Hawaii to take on Depaul in the their first game of the Maui Classic on Monday, November 20. Depaul is 1-2, having dropped their first two games to Bradley and Northwestern by double digits before blowing out Eastern Illinois tonight. Depaul is led by 6-foot-8, 230 lb. forward Wilson Chandler and 6-foot-6 senior wing player Sammy Mejia.
The Wildcats have now blocked nine shots in each of the last two games.