By Jamie H. Vaught
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Reid Travis, a graduate transfer from Stanford University where he was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection, led UK attack with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds as the second-ranked Wildcats rolled over undersized Transylvania University 94-66 Friday night in an exhibition contest before a crowd of 19,927 at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky coach John Calipari praised Travis’ performance. “He did good stuff. I mean, he rebounded the ball. He had a double-double. If we could have that out of him every game we play, it's a pretty good night,” said the coach. “He's physical. He talks on defense. He played good.”
Seven Wildcats also scored in double figures with 6-10, 225-pound freshman EJ Montgomery hitting on 7-of-10 shooting for a team-high 14 points. Montgomery, who is from Fort Pierce, Fla., nearly posted a double-double as he grabbed nine rebounds.
Even though UK hit nearly 57 percent of its shots overall, the Wildcats struggled with their three-point field goal shooting. Kentucky made only one of 13 three-pointers for 7.7 percent with sophomore Quade Green making the team’s only long downtown jumper.
“We've got to make some 3s,” said Calipari. “And I've got to watch the tape to see if, did they take him away or were we not prepared to shoot, you know, 1-for-13, and this might be my best shooting team in a while. One of the things I've told them, though, the good news is we don't rely on 3-point shooting. There are teams that do. We don't. So we could go 1-for-13 and still score a lot of points because of how we play.
“But that is the one thing that gives us a gap. You make 10 or 11 3s here, and then we're winning pretty big. Again, I've got to watch the tape and see what it is. Some of them, we may have just been missing. The two guys (who normally are the best): Tyler (Herro) shot four. Immanuel (Quickley) only shot one. Quade only shot two. Those are three of the guys that should be shooting.”
The 6-8, 240-pound Travis, a preseason All-SEC pick, was asked about his performance.
“Bringing the energy and hitting the boards hard is a big thing for me,” he said. “Points and touches are going to come. We have a very talented team and some nights you just must play your role as far as when the balls going to come to you. Rebounds, defense and energy are things I can bring every night.”
Kentucky’s next game is Friday, Nov. 2 in an exhibition matchup with Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The 7 p.m. contest at Rupp Arena will be televised by SEC Network.
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Both schools paid tribute to the late C.M. Newton, a major figure in college basketball, in a pre-game ceremony. Newton, a former Adolph Rupp player and UK athletics director, passed away this past summer at the age of 88.
Newton began his collegiate coaching career at Transylvania where he coached the Pioneers for 12 years. He also coached at Alabama and Vanderbilt. Newton also was a pioneer of racial integration.
His son, Martin Newton (pictured with Calipari and others), who attended the ceremony, is currently the athletics director at Samford University in Birmingham. The younger Newton also served as UK’s director of basketball operations under Calipari several years ago.
Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via e-mail at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.
UK Athletics Photo by Chet White