"I give Kentucky all the credit in the world here," Ford said after the game, "When they are making threes like that – they are going to play well. They are one of the best defensive teams I have seen. When they are shooting the ball like that and with the consistency of the defense and the way Coach Smith teaches defense, there are not five better teams in the country; if there are I would like to see them. I have watched every game Kentucky has played over the last four or five days and they just played with an extreme sense of urgency, they played with a great edge. Our guys were ready to play. We just didn't have an answer for a lot of the things they did. We have played some good basketball teams this year and they are as good as I have seen."
The Minutemen tried gamely to make coach Ford's homecoming a least a respectable one, but the Cats continued to keep the game out of reach for most of the second half as well, expanding the lead to 72-50 with 5:23 remaining in the game. Ford's team made a late charge. Guard Ricky Harris scored 10-points in a late rally but the Minutemen would come no closer than 12. The final score was Kentucky 82-68.
"Today we got off to a very fast start," coach Smith said, "We have been defending and shooting the ball much better, and I think tonight was one of our most impressive efforts. We challenged a lot of shots and did some very good things to hold a team like Massachusetts to 37 percent shooting. We had some very good efforts by some players, and with 20 assists I was very impressed with our ability to move the ball and pass the ball."
Kentucky's junior standouts, Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley, chipped in 14 points each to lead the Cats. Freshmen Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper added 10 points and nine points respectively. Senior wing James Life led Massachusetts, now 9-3, with 24 points.
"I think that had a lot to do with us being mentally prepared to come in the game and play the kind of game we wanted to play; control the tempo, play offense the way we know we're capable of playing," guard Ramel Bradley said, "We defended well, and we came down and knocked down shots
Following a disappointing loss to North Carolina, the Wildcats entered a 16-game stretch against opponents not ranked among the nation's elite. Thus far Tubby Smith has used the favorable schedule to work on developing players and improving the team, as well as racking up the wins.
The Cats held the Minutemen to just 37% shooting, the 7th game in a row that Kentucky has held its opposition to under 40% shooting. But the bigger story was seeing much needed offensive spark from the team which had struggled with consistency this season.
The Wildcats shot 59% from the field, shooting an impressive 7-11 from three point range (63%).
The team will now take a well-deserved Christmas break before returning to action against Eastern Kentucky in Rupp Arena on December 30. The Colonels are winners of three of their last four games and will come into Rupp Arena with an 8-3 record. They are led by guard Mike Rose, who is currently leading the team in scoring at nearly 16 points per game and shooting over 42% from three point range.