Top-ranked Wildcats play host to Colonels

Dec 7, 2014 - 3:29 PM Lexington, KY ( - The top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats continue their extended homestand on Sunday evening, as they play host to the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in a non-conference matchup at Rupp Arena.

John Calipari's Wildcats have looked very much like the top team in the land, sprinting out to a flawless 8-0 record. The team already has a couple of marquee wins on the season against top competition, blowing out Kansas (72-40) back on Nov. 18 and most recently taking care of business against powerhouse Texas (63-51) on Friday.

Jeff Neubauer's Colonels are sporting a winning record as well, sitting at 4-2 on the young season. However, Eastern Kentucky opened the season with four straight wins at home, but has dropped back-to-back games of late, falling at BYU (90-76) and most recently to Valparaiso (72-66).

Kentucky has won all 10 previous meetings with EKU, with the last meeting coming back in 2006.

Scoring points hasn't been a problem for Eastern Kentucky this season, as the team is generating a healthy 86.8 ppg, doing so on .464 shooting. The team has thrived defensively as well, leading the nation in both turnover margin (+15.3) and steals per game (13.0). The Colonels boast of a deep scoring pool, with five players currently in double figures. Corey Walden is pacing the team with an impressive 18.3 ppg, as he shoots .547 from the field. He is topped however by Eric Stutz's .596 efficiency, with the senior forward putting up 12.3 ppg. Ja'Mill Powell (12.2 ppg), Jaylen Babb-Harrison (12.0 ppg) and Timmy Knipp (10.0 ppg) get into the act offensively as well.

EKU's potent offense didn't materialize against Valpo last time out, as the Colonels managed to shoot just .361 from the floor overall. Knipp led the way with 16 points. He was joined in double figures by three others, as Walden (13 pts), Stutz (11 pts) and Babb-Harrison (10 pts) had solid games in defeat as well.

The Colonels better be red-hot right from the get-go in this one, as Kentucky has proved to be one of the nation's stingiest teams. The Wildcats boast of the nation's top defense, limiting foes to a meager 45.2 ppg and an anemic .282 shooting. In addition, Kentucky leads the nation in blocked shots (69). UK is now the first team in the modern era to hold its first eight opponents under 40 percent shooting. Offensively, the team doesn't have any prolific scoring threats, but rather a strong collective that manages 77.0 ppg. Dakari Johnson (10.4 ppg) leads the way despite not starting a single game. Willie Cauley-Stein (10.3 ppg) is a close second, followed by Aaron Harrison (9.4 ppg) and Devin Booker (9.0 ppg).

The Wildcats were at it again on Friday, as their suffocating defensive play limited the usually explosive Longhorns to a mere 51 points on a season-worst. .298 shooting effort. Cauley-Stein was dominant in the win, finishing with a career-high 21 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and five steals. Johnson added 11 points in 19 minutes of work, while Karl-Anthony Towns tacked on 10 points in the win.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!