Friday night, the Cats took it to another level. And they used the three-point shot early and often in a 101-67 win at Rupp Arena.
The Cats hit 17 of 32 (53.1 percent) from behind the arc in the game, marking the most threes ever for a John Calipari-coached Kentucky teams and the most overall for the Cats in nearly 30 years. UK made 39 of 61 (63.9 percent) from the field for the game.
Freshman guard Reed Sheppard had the hot hand all night. He his nine of 10 from the field, including seven of eight from behind the arc, on his way to a career high 25 points. The London native also had seven assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Sheppard certainly was not alone. Fellow freshman Rob Dillingham had 20 points, making three three-pointers. Calipari was pleased with the play of both Sheppard and Dillingham.
“Reed was tremendous,” Calipari said. “So was Rob. A lot of good stuff.”
Calipari was also pleased with how his team bounced back from Tuesday's loss to Kansas.
“To come off that game in Chicago, the enormity of the game and then bounce back and play this kind of game, I was really proud of the guys,” Calipari said.
Kentucky came out of the gate hot, hitting six of its first seven three-pointers and eight of its first 10.
Three Cats were in double figures at the half (Mitchell – 13; Reeves – 12; Sheppard – 12) as Kentucky made 22 of 33 (66.7 percent) in the first half. That included 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) from behind the arc. It all added up to a 58-37 lead for UK at the break.
The second half was a much different story, at least at the beginning. Kentucky missed its first three shots of the second half and turned the ball over three times. Meanwhile, Stonehill found its touch and the Skyhawks opened the half with a 9-0 run to get within 58-46. Kentucky would eventually find its footing, stretching the lead to as many as 37 points.
UK returns to action on Monday, facing Saint Joseph's at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 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.