By Jamie H. Vaught
Many basketball observers have said it's the raw talent that wins the games, not experience
They were definitely right Sunday, Nov. 12 as Kentucky's youth talent overcame a very respectable Vermont club 73-69 at Rupp Arena.
“I’m really proud of our guys today and the effort they played with out there. We were close (with a chance to tie the contest at the end)," said Vermont coach John Becker, whose 29-6 squad lost to Purdue in the NCAA tournament last year. "We’re a little bit disappointed right now that we couldn’t make one more shot, but that’s a really talented Kentucky team that’s playing a heck of a schedule. They’re going to be really good and be a team to be reckoned with for national championship. Our aspirations are to win these games. I have a pretty experienced group, a team that won a lot of games last year with the NCAA tournament. We hope to be back there this year."
Kentucky, which hit 46.4 percent of its field goals, had a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. PJ Washington notched a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. UK's other scoring leaders were Hamidou Diallo (16 points), Quade Green (15 points) and Kevin Knox (pictured) who had 11 points along with eight rebounds.
The Wildcats, now 2-0, meet Kansas in a Tuesday night showdown (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) in the United Center in Chicago.
UK sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones says the Vermont contest was very helpful for the team in preparing for the Jayhawks.
“Today is a game we really needed," said Killeya-Jones, who played 18 minutes against Catamounts with six points and four rebounds. "It’s good that it was a close game because we got to learn how to play down the stretch, finish the game out and play together. It was a good game."
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught,