Mon, 11 Dec 2023

No. 17 Kentucky looks to extend hot shooting vs. St. Joseph's

Field Level Media
20 Nov 2023, 04:55 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)

No. 17 Kentucky bounced back from its first loss of the season by shooting the lights out of the ball against Stonehill.

Kentucky's next task before a few days off for Thanksgiving is a home game against hungry Saint Joseph's on Monday night in Lexington, Ky.

The Wildcats (3-1) went 17-for-32 from the 3-point arc in a 101-67 beating of Stonehill on Friday night. It marked a new single-game record in the John Calipari era for 3-pointers made in a game.

As it so often is, it was Calipari's freshmen who stepped up and into the limelight. Reed Sheppard led with 25 points and made 7 of 8 from long distance. Rob Dillingham added 20 points and made three 3-pointers. Both Sheppard and Dillingham added seven assists, and fellow first-year player D.J. Wagner scored his nine points on three triples.

"We have got guys here that got a green light because they are really skilled," Calipari said. "It is not about how you're jumping, running. It is that you are skilled with that ball."

Kentucky dropped 58 points in the first half on an overmatched Stonehill team and wound up with 26 assists on 39 made field goals.

It was a quick turnaround from a trip to Chicago for the Champions Classic, where Kentucky led No. 1 Kansas by as many as 14 points before losing 89-84 on Tuesday.

"To come off that game in Chicago, the enormity of the game and then not get in until 4 in the morning and then bounce back and have to play this kind of game when they are playing a zone and they are not going to stop playing, I was really proud of the guys," Calipari said.

Antonio Reeves leads Kentucky with 17.8 points per game. Rob Dillingham averages 16.8 points per game, and Sheppard has 13.3 points and 3.0 steals per game for the guard-heavy Wildcats. Forward Tre Mitchell is adding 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Saint Joseph's (3-1) is no slouch of an opponent for Kentucky, but the Hawks did just lose their first game of the season 57-54 to Texas AM-Commerce, which is still in the process of reclassifying from Division II to Division I.

The Hawks' shooting went ice-cold for the first time this season, as they made just 18 of 66 from the field and 6 of 30 from the arc. Erik Reynolds II, the program's leading scorer at 14.3 points per game, was held to 3-of-12 shooting for 11 points.

Saint Joseph's started the year with three straight wins, including by 21 over Lafayette and by 44 over Stonehill. The most notable win of the bunch, though, was a 69-61 home victory over Penn in Philadelphia Big 5 pool play.

The Quakers turned around and stunned Villanova after that result.

Saint Joseph's coach Billy Lange praised his team's endurance after Penn made it a tight game down the stretch.

"Things happen in the game of basketball," Lange told Phillycollegesports.com. "You can sit there and watch it go in and let your emotions take over. Or you can keep attacking and be a Saint Joe's basketball player."

Behind Reynolds, Lynn Greer III (12.0), Xzayvier Brown (11.5) and Rasheer Fleming (10.5) also average double figures in scoring four games into the season.

--Field Level Media

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