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Kentucky stays perfect after its closest game on the Big Blue Bahamas Tour

Aug 16, 2014, 3:25 PM EST

Kentucky Athletics Kentucky Athletics

Kentucky won the first four games of the Big Blue Bahamas Tour by an average margin of 24 points. On Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats struggled, but eventually prevailed in the tightest game of their eight-day stay in the Bahamas, with a 77-72 win over Champagne Chalons-Reims from France.

The Wildcats were clinging to a one-possession lead for the final minutes of the game. Kentucky had a chance to extend the lead, but Andrew Harrison’s alley-oop pass to Dakari Johnson was deflected, followed by a missed layup by Johnson with 90 seconds left.

Tyler Ulis, who has been pressing opposing ball handlers all week long, forced a turnover, which led to his breakaway layup with 1:06 remaining. The hustle play earned a standing ovation from John Calipari, who was once again sitting in the top row of the Sir Kendal Isaac Gym, as Barry ‘Slice’ Rohrssen took over head coaching duties on Saturday. That play made it a two-possession game, and would serve as the last bucket of the afternoon, as Charlons-Reims failed to convert on several opportunities in the final minute.

The 5-foot-9 freshman point guard was out the on the floor with both of the Harrison twins. This is worth noting because while Kentucky has plenty of talented big man, a lineup which includes Ulis and the Harrison twins will likely been seen this season.

Saturday marked the first time Kentucky trailed at halftime, with Champagne Chalons-Reims taking a 44-43 lead into the break. The Wildcats defensive intensity was lacking, as Charlons-Reims were able to getting easy looks through the first 20 minutes. Charlons-Reims connected on 19 of its 26 (73 percent) first half attempts.

Kentucky defeated Charlons-Reims 81-58 in the second game of this tour. The Wildcats finish this tour on Sunday against the Dominican Republic, a team that Kentucky defeated by 13 on Friday afternoon. The sixth and final game tips at 1 p.m.

  1. thedrivefor9 - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    I’m glad we had a close game and trailed at the half. We needed that. I actually wouldn’t have wanted to go into the season with the boys thinking they were world beaters only to get a rude awakening when they played Kansas or someone in Indy. They have to continue to WANT IT and FIGHT FOR IT!
    The one thing to always keep in mind, Hawkins & Willis have been playing a full rotation. Just as many minutes as anyone else. That won’t be happening in actual game play when it means something. As a matter of fact, both will probably only play mop up minutes this year. And the crazy thing is that 2 probable top 15 draft picks will be playing the minutes Hawkins & Willis have been playing in Cauley-Stein & Trey Lyles. My starting lineup would be:
    PG Andrew Harrison (with Ulis playing 20+ minutes per game)
    SG Aaron Harrison
    C Dakari Johnson
    SF Alex Poythress
    PF Karl-Anthony Towns
    2nd unit
    PG Tyler Ulis
    SG Devin Booker
    C Willie Cauley-Stein
    SF Marcus Lee
    PF Trey Lyles
    Mop Up
    Derek Willis
    Dominique Hawkins

  2. oruacat2 - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I’d like to see a lineup with the Harrison twins split up: pair Ullis at the point with Aaron and Booker at the 2G with Andrew.

    I hope Coach Cal continues to play 12 guys signifiant minutes and uses this staggering depth to our advantage to fatigue the opponent. Force the other team to go to their bench, because I’d put ours up against theirs all day long.

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