Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) – The top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats will try
to keep their unbeaten start to the season alive on Sunday afternoon when they
welcome the Montana State Bobcats to Rupp Arena for a non-conference clash.
Montana State was supposed to play Buffalo on Friday night but the game was
postponed due to the severe snowstorms in the area. The Bobcats are 0-3 on the
season, each loss coming on the road, with their most recent setback coming at
Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, 72-65.
Kentucky tipped off a season-long eight-game homestand with a contest against
Boston University on Friday and came away with an 89-65 victory to move to
4-0. The Wildcats already have a signature win early in the campaign after
dismantling nationally-ranked Kansas on a neutral court on Nov. 18, 72-40.
Montana State and Kentucky have never before played one another.
The Bobcats dug themselves a 14-point hole at the half of their most recent
game, and while they played better after intermission and got to within five
late, they could not complete the comeback. They kept the contest competitive
by knocking down 11-of-32 3-point attempts, but their overall field goal
percentage (.344) was lackluster. Stephan Hill provided a spark off the bench
with five 3-pointers and 20 points. Marcus Colbert stuffed the stat sheet with
15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Michael Dison added 11
Montana State has been thoroughly outmatch on the season, as it get outshot by
its opponents from the field, 51.2 percent to 39.2 percent, while owning a
-19.3 scoring margin. Danny Robison (12.3 ppg), Colbert (11.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg,
5.7 apg) and Dison (10.3 ppg) are the top performers.
The Wildcats had an unexpectedly tough time with BU for most of their latest
contest, as they led by just two early in the second half. But they put on the
afterburners down the stretch to pull away for the 24-point victory. They
shined on both ends of the floor, not only shooting 57.6 percent from the
field themselves but forcing BU into 22 turnovers and 38.5 percent shooting.
Pacing four teammates in double figures was Aaron Harrison with 19 points.
Devin Booker (15 points, seven assists) and Dakari Johnson (11 points, six
rebounds) were both difference-makers off the bench, and Willie Cauley-Stein
brought 12 points and five boards to the table.
Four convincing victories has left Kentucky with a staggering +28.8 scoring
margin. Its defense has been the biggest story, as it holds opponents to a
lowly 30.7 percent field goal shooting and forces nearly 18 turnovers per
game. While Aaron Harrison (10.5 ppg) and Johnson (10.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg) are the
only players to average in double figures, UK has an incredibly deep squad
with nine players netting at least 6.0 ppg. Highly touted freshman Karl-
Anthony Towns (6.0 ppg) is shooting just 36 percent from the floor early in
his career but has made his presence felt in the paint with 6.3 rpg and 3.0
blocks per outing.