The Kentucky Wildcats allowed the Texas-Arlington Mavericks to hang around in the first half, but they quickly put them away in the second half winning 105-76 tonight. The Wildcats’ speed and size was just too much for the Mavericks in this one.
James Young led the Wildcats with 26 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. Julius Randle was a beast down low again scoring 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The Wildcats outscored the Mavericks 63-43 in the second half.
It is hard to take a lot from games like this one, but one thing is for sure for the Wildcats is that Young is their most reliable guard thus far this season. He was the best player on the floor tonight for John Calipari’s squad. He started off extremely hot, hitting his first three three-pointers and scoring 15 points in the first half. He was aggressive attacking the bucket, which allowed him to get points at the bucket as well as get to the foul line.
Young has been at his best when the team is challenged. In the first half, Texas Arlington was hanging around and keeping the game close. However, because of Young’s first half the Mavericks could not get it closer than four points. He did the same thing in the Michigan State game. When everyone else looked lost on their first big stage, Young hit a couple big threes against the Spartans to keep Kentucky from getting out. I think it is clear that Calipari can rely on Young.
The Wildcats have other talented guards, but none have showed the consistency that Young has shown, especially when the Wildcats have faced adversity. The Harrison twins are the other two starting guards and have showed flashes of being really good college guards, but I don’t think they have fully adjusted to the college game or Kentucky’s style of play. Tonight, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison struggled offensively. Aaron went 2-of-10 from the field and 0-of-5 from the three-point line. Andrew was not much better. He was 3-for-8 from the field, but did dish out six assists. Kentucky knows Young will be there in big games and when the Harrison twins find their comfort zone this team becomes even more lethal.
It is early in the season and a lot of things can change throughout the course of the season, but I think James Young is the guy Kentucky will look to for big shots, like they did in the first half tonight, and to get them going when they start slow throughout the year.