All season, Kentucky has appeared a step away from taking a leap to the next step in their ascension as a very young team. The Wildcats have nearly beaten Michigan State, North Carolina and Florida despite subpar efforts for long periods of time or bad games from key players.
But if the young and talented core of Kentucky ever figures things out, it could be nasty.
Has the selfishness of the group cost them to this point though? Freshman shooting guard Aaron Harrison made an interesting remark to Kentucky Courier Journal‘s Kyle Tucker:
“I think that’s the biggest question for all of us. We all, all of our lives, have just been worrying about ourselves. When you put that group of people all together, it’s really hard. Coach said it’s impossible, really,” Harrison said to Kentucky Courier-Journal. “So, I mean, we’re just trying to do the impossible and see where it goes. We’re really getting better at it.”
Harrison has to brush off a mediocre effort against Florida in which he went 1-for-7 for three points. It seems like all season if one Kentucky freshman plays well, then someone else plays poorly and so-on.
It’s troubling that Harrison would be ready to admit this, but probably a good thing if the young Wildcats want to move on from it. If they all buy in for this next month, it will benefit all of them greatly.
If Kentucky’s freshmen can share the ball and take good shots and get some impact contributions from the sophomores, they’ll be in good shape for the postseason.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.