Radford faces tall task in clash with No. 2 Kentucky

Nov 23, 2011 - 4:43 PM Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - The second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena this evening, as they play host to the Radford Highlanders in non-conference action in Lexington.

John Calipari has yet another young, but extremely talented team this season and the Wildcats have certainly not disappointed early on, going 4-0. Most recently, Kentucky took part in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament in Uncansville, Connecticut, knocking off both Penn State (87-45) and Old Dominion (62-52).

The Highlanders have already experienced ups and down on the season, reflected in Radford's 3-3 record. The team enters this contest having lost back-to-back games to Long Island (81-59) and Marist (60-47) in the same Hall of Fame Tip- off Classic.

This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.

Six games into the season and it has become clear that the Highlanders are not an offensive juggernaut. The team has really struggled to find its groove at that end of the floor, shooting just .376 overall, including a mere .291 from behind the arc. The poor performance has even extended to the free-throw line, where Radford is converting just 57.1 percent of the time (56-of-98). It has led to a meager scoring average of 61.2 ppg. The good news is that the team has played better defensively, limiting the opposition to just 59.3 ppg. Jareal Smith is the only player currently averaging double figures in scoring at a modest 11.7 ppg. Johnathan Edwards is close behind at 9.7 ppg and is the team's top rebounder with 6.5 rpg. In a 13-point loss to Marist last time out, Radford was done in by The Red Foxes' efficiency from the floor, more specifically in the second half, where Marist was able to convert 66.7 percent from the floor. Edwards led the way in the loss with 13 points. Smith chipped in with nine.

Kentucky has not had a problem at either end of the floor this season, boasting of a gaudy +27.0 scoring margin, averaging 82.5 ppg, while allowing just 55.5. The Wildcats are shooting .534 overall and .431 from three-point range, with all five starters averaging double figures. Doron Lamb leads the way with 16.5 ppg. He is followed by Anthony Davis (12.8 ppg), Michael Kidd- Gilchrist (12.3 ppg), Terrence Jones (11.0 ppg) and Marquis Teague (10.8 ppg). UK is also outrebounding foes by 8.3 rebounds per game, led by Jones' 8.0 per outing. In the 10-point win over Old Dominion last time out, it was Kentucky's defense that took center stage. The Wildcats held the Monarchs to a mere .321 shooting, including .292 in the second half, in addition to holding a +10 rebounding edge (43-33). Kidd-Gilchrist and Darius Miller led the way offensively with 13 points each. Davis finished with 11 and tied Gilchrist for the team-lead with nine rebounds.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!