In their first game at Rupp Arena last week, Kentucky freshmen Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner did not have great starts. Edwards made just one of his first six shots in the win over Georgetown in the first half of the game. He would finish the game with nine points and eight rebounds. Wagner also struggled with his shooting, scoring just four points on two of nine shooting.
Edwards and Wagner had no such issues in Thursday's exhibition contest. Kentucky beat Kentucky State 99-53 inside Rupp Arena, thanks in part due to the quick start for both Edwards and Wagner.
Edwards scored Kentucky's first six points, and 10 of UK's first 12, making his first five shots in the process. He would finish the game with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Wagner had 12 points, all in the first half. The Camden, New Jersey, native also had seven assists while committing no turnovers.
UK head coach John Calipari liked what he saw from both Edwards and Wagner.
“Last game, I said D.J., you can't end the game with one assist,” Calipari said. “And so (tonight) he has seven. Justin's getting better. Still too hard on himself, started the game driving.”
Kentucky would have five players score in double figures in the game. In addition to Edwards and Wagner, UK got a game high 20 points from Antonio Reeves, who made four of six from behind the arc. Tre Mitchell had 15 points and a game high 10 rebounds for UK. Adou Thiero had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Cats.
The game was tight early before Kentucky went on a 13-0 run to take a 25-9 lead with 11:27 left in the first half.
Kentucky committed no turnovers over the first 29 minutes of the game and finished with only six for the game. Calipari was impressed by that number.
“As fast as we're playing, to have 25 or whatever assists on 37 baskets and have only, really four or five turnovers, probably less, that means guys hand handle it, guys can pass it, they can catch it,” Calipari said. “We've got a bunch of pretty good basketball players.”
Kentucky tips off its regular season on Monday night, hosting New Mexico State at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.
Walter Cornett, of Glendale, Kentucky, is the owner and operator of Walter's Wildcat World. He founded WildcatWorld.com in 1998 making it one of the oldest Kentucky basketball fan sites in operation today.
On This Day In UK Basketball History
- On December 5, 1953, Cliff Hagan scored 51 points against Temple.
- On December 5, 1953, Cawood Ledford broadcasts his first game as the radio “Voice of the Wildcats.”
- On December 5, 2009, freshman John Wall bounced back from a bout with dehydration and a queasy encounter with an IV drip to finish with 16 points -- including the clinching free throws with 4.3 seconds left -- seven assists, five rebounds and three steals to lift the Wildcats to a 68-66 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels. This was the first signature win of Calipari's tenure and proved his rebuilding job was well ahead of schedule.