Quick Thoughts As Kentucky Defeats Columbia, 56-46

Tonight Columbia went to Rupp Arena and played the No. 1 team in the country — a team some hot takes even have beating the Philadelphia 76ers… And Kentucky didn’t take the lead until 13:18 remained in the game, but eventually won 56-46. It was a gutsy effort from an incredibly game Lions squad and much kudos to Kyle Smith, who basically did everything he could to pull out what would’ve been the most improbable of victories.I watched the whole game, but I don’t have much to say about it. Kentucky’s length and height obviously bothered Columbia in the second half. The Wildcats were able to get a number of dunks and the refs helped out in the second half as well, giving Kentucky a 17-4 advantage from the free throw line. Here are some other quick thoughts:

  • The pace of this game was soooooo slow. The final tally was 51 possessions. It’s hard to play a basketball game any slower. Some of that has to do with Kentucky’s offensive rebounds, but Columbia also made a concerted effort to slow the tempo down. They certainly succeeded.
  • Kyle Castlin‘s first half was excellent. In the second half he committed a couple offensive foul calls — that were borderline in my opinion — but still managed to finish with a respectable line of eight points on 3-6 shooting against the No. 1 team in the country as a true freshman.
  • Maodo Lo was excellent too, especially in the first half. He finished with 16 points on 6-17 shooting, including 4-10 from three. Lo couldn’t get to the free throw line against Kentucky, but he did manage to make things happen. He had seven rebounds and three steals (all really early in the game when Kentucky was being more sloppy with the basketball).
  • Columbia’s bench also got a bit of a boost with the return of Luke Petrasek. The sophomore big man had a nice two-handed dunk late and finished with two points, one rebound and three fouls. Playing against Kentucky is a tough way to get back into a rhythm, but Petrasek’s return will give Smith another option when Cory Osetkowski is struggling or he wants to go bigger against some of the power front courts in the Ivy League. Once Petrasek is back at game speed he’ll certainly be a better third big man than Connor Voss and could even take Chris McComber’s position in the starting lineup.

Because it’s interesting. The tempo-free stats from tonight:

Kentucky: 51 possessions, 1.10 points per possession, 38.3% eFG%, 7.8% TO%, 52.5% OR%, 28.3 FTR

Columbia: 51 possessions, 0.90 points per possession (the best against Kentucky this season), 45.8 eFG%, 19.6% TO%, 31.0% OR%, 8.3 FTR

The Lions’ next game isn’t until Dec. 20 against Hofstra at Levien Gymnasium. It should be a fascinating game.

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