After beating New Mexico State 86-46 in its season opener, No. 16 Kentucky hosts Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday night at Rupp Arena.
The Cats outscored the Aggies 49-17 in the second half to turn a close game into a blowout in front of 18,438 blue-clad fans. Freshman Rob Dillingham led all scorers with 17 points, while fellow freshman guard DJ Wagner had 13. Two other freshmen, Justin Edwards and Reed Sheppard, each had 12 points, while senior Antonio Reeves had 11.
Reeves, the team’s leading returning scorer, liked how the freshmen played in their first collegiate regular season contest.
“The younger guys are finally getting it, playing at the collegiate level,” Reeves said. “They played really well for the first game. There were no nerves. They are adjusting to the pace of the game really well. In transition, those guys were flying down the court.”
Reeves has an idea of what makes this group of freshmen so good.
“Hungry mentality, they’re tough, they play with a lot of grit,” Reeves said. “They just focus from the start of the game until the end of the game. That’s what I really like about this team.”
“Definitely. We’ve got a lot of good players. We all look for each other out there.”
Reeves likes the direction that this team is headed early in the season. Asked what he thinks about the team so far, he didn’t hesitate.
“That we’re really good,” Reeves said. “I don’t have a lot of pressure on me. Just be ready to create or be ready to shoot. It makes me feel good, having great players around me. Those guys can create shots and do their own thing.”
Texas A&M-Commerce will be playing its third game of the season on Friday night. The Lions lost at Texas A&M 78-46 on Monday, then fell at Texas Tech 73-46 on Wednesday.
Jerome Brewer leads the Lions in scoring, averaging 12 points per outing, and rebounding, pulling down seven boards per contest. Kalen Williams averages 11.5 points per game for TAMU-CC.
Tipoff for Friday’s game is set for 7 pm ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.