Hamidou Diallo scored 15 second-half points, majority during an 18-0 run, and No. 5 Kentucky shot 59 percent after halftime to rally past Utah Valley 73-63 on Friday night in the opener for both schools. That showed, too. Kentucky's length makes the zone effective and the Wolverines promptly turned the ball over and over and over and suddenly United Kingdom had turned a 34-25 halftime deficit into a 43-37 lead and continued on from there to get the win.
Kentucky did not allow a field goal from the 14:33 mark to the 8:59 mark in the second half. "But he's now saying, 'Coach, tell me how you want me to play offensively, ' and he's playing that way". "You're going to have to play basketball". "Let's embrace it and know it's going to be hard to win these games". Diallo led the Wildcats with 18 points. "I would say more it was us". "We came out in the second half fired up and put them away".
PJ Washington five, Quade Green four, and Sacha Killeya-Jones four points round out the scoring for Kentucky.
Traditionally a man-to-man squad under Calipari, Kentucky used a zone in the second half to disrupt the Wolverines, a scheme that provided issues for Utah Valley in the post and on the perimeter. "It certainly was - I thought - the difference in the game".
More remarkable was Kentucky's use of the zone, which Calipari admittedly dislikes.
That was UK Coach John Calipari while speaking in the postgame press conference on Friday night. "Whatever this team needs, I'm going to have to do". "Now, defensively, he's got a long way to go". But we are what we are right now and we won a game. The Cats shot 20.6 percent the first half. It feels much better.
Kentucky was stone cold in the first half and ended the half missing their final 15 shot attempts. "So what he wanted me to be is just me".
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Utah Valley (0-1) was led by Kenneth Ogbe with 12 points and Jake Toolson with 11.
Pippen, the nephew of National Basketball Association great Scottie Pippen, added 10 rebounds. Gilgeous-Alexander and Knox each added four steals.
Diallo was a huge part of fifth-ranked Kentucky's comeback from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
Seton Hall 90, Fairleigh Dickinson 68: Desi Rodriguez scored 17 points, 13 in the first half, leading No. 23 Seton Hall to an easy victory.
Pope received a warm applause from the Kentucky contingent and reflected on tiger past following his team's 10-point setback. "... What he's doing in the WAC they're moving up, moving up, moving up, and that's what you try to do when you take over a program. Once that first basket goes in I'll be good".
"I had little butterflies in my stomach", admitted Richards.
Wenyen Gabriel provided a spark off the bench for Kentucky with his hustle plays and rebounding. "I've gone some years where we played it against one team because that team struggled against the zone".