Friday night, the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats finished off their two-game preseason slate with an 83-51 victory over the Kentucky State Thorobreds at Rupp Arena.

Despite the game not counting in the standings, there was plenty to take away from the victory as the Cats start to look ahead to their battle with No. 1 Michigan State next Tuesday.

OBSERVATIONS:

Bounce Back Night For Whitney

Freshman Khalil Whitney had a rough night in Kentucky’s preseason opener against Georgetown College as he failed to find the scoreboard and hardly complied any stats. Friday was a much different story; however, as he put together a fantastic performance that saw him shoot 7-13 from the field, scoring 15 points, grab five rebounds and dish out three assists. 

Sestina Looks Ready To Step Up

With Nick Richards’ status in question, the Wildcats are going to need graduate transfer Nate Sestina to step-up in a big way. Sestina looked up to the task Friday as he shot 6-8 from the field score 13 points and grab eight rebounds as he nearly secured a second straight double-double.

Calipari’s Confidence in Quickley is Paying Off

On media day, John Calipari had high praise for second-year guard Immanuel Quickley. We are quickly seeing why he praised the sophomore as after dominating in Kentucky’s preseason opener against Georgetown College Quickley put together another solid performance Friday as he dropped 15 points and hit two three-pointers. 

Montgomery Struggled Again

It was another rough night for EJ Montgomery, who saw his fair share of criticism after struggling last Sunday against Georgetown College. Montgomery got in early foul trouble as he committed two fouls before the 10-minute mark in the opening half. Calipari let him play through it, but he did not perform well as he finished the night with three turnovers, four fouls, and missed several defensive assignments. 

Defense Looks Ahead of Offense

Last year Kentucky’s offense started the season hot while the defense struggled. This season looks like the opposite may occur. Kentucky’s defense had a stellar night Friday forcing 22 turnovers with 10 steals and 34 defensive rebounds. Offensively, the Cats struggled out of the gate as they shot just 27,3% from behind the arc and turned the ball over 13 times. 

STANDOUTS:

MVP: Khalil Whitney

After a rough night against Georgetown College, Whitney turned things around quickly with a 15 point performance that was tied for the most points scored by any scorer on either team. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Immanuel Quickley

Another night, another strong game from Immanuel Quickley as he dropped 15 points to finish the preseason with an average of 15.5 points per game. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

Below you can watch all the highlights from Kentucky’s preseason victory from UK Athletics

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