Coach John Calipari
took a mostly positive approach considering it was the first game together for his lauded group of rookies, but he noted a lot of blemishes. For example, his team's lack of defensive effort was something he stressed needed improvement - more against Northern Kentucky rather than Michigan State.
Calipari couldn't complain after Kentucky held NKU to 9-of-31 shooting in the first half on Sunday, though much of that had more to do with the Norse's understandable reluctance to try and drive inside against the bigger Wildcats. That left NKU to try and make things up from beyond the arc, a strategy that yielded just 3-of-18 shooting (16.7 percent) and played right into Kentucky's hands in numerous ways.
The Wildcats tallied just four fast-break points in the first half but had 16 second-chance points thanks to 12 offensive rebounds. They dominated the boards 29-12 through 20 minutes.
Figure in 5-of-13 shooting from long range (38 percent) and it quickly added to the expected lopsided outcome. Leading 16-10 after Poythress' 3-pointer, the Wildcats closed the half with a 32-12 run for a 48-22 lead.
Just two nights after losing its opener 77-76 at Purdue in the final seconds, the Norse endured a rude chapter in their second season playing Division I basketball. And that was just the first half.
They finished 21 of 64 from the field (32.8 percent) including 9 of 35 from beyond the arc.