Miami(Ohio) at Kentucky 11-16-09

November 16, 2009


Behind one of its talented freshmen, Kentucky played well in its season opener. Things could go even better when its top recruit finally takes the court. Heralded point guard John Wall makes his much-anticipated debut when the fourth-ranked Wildcats host Miami of Ohio on Monday night. Hailing from Raleigh, N.C., Wall was considered to be the top high school player in the country last year, but he was forced to miss Kentucky’s 75-59 win over Morehead State on Friday as part of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits from his former AAU coach.

Though the Wildcats had little trouble winning Calipari’s Kentucky debut, there’s room for improvement. They went 4 for 19 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 24 times, including seven by Bledsoe.

They’ll try to remedy that when they face Miami for the first time since beating the RedHawks 57-46 on Nov. 11, 2006.

Though Kentucky has dominated this series, Calipari is cautious about facing Miami coach Charlie Coles’ deliberate offense and aggressive defense that held opponents to 58.9 points while going 17-13 last season.

“It’s another good team where the team can beat us,” Calipari told Kentucky’s official Web site. “It’s not a game where you show up and you win anyway.”

Senior Kenny Hayes had 17 points for Miami in its opener Friday, but the RedHawks blew a five-point halftime lead and fell 82-71 at Towson. Hayes averaged 13.9 points, but was limited to eight games due to a wrist injury last season. Miami, picked to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division, has lost 12 in a row against Top 25 opponents dating to a 73-67 win over then-No. 10 Boston College on Dec. 20, 2001.  All Kentucky in this one.

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