Lexington, KY – The top ten ranked Kentucky Wildcats faced a tough opponent last night that gave them everything they could handle in the first half of play. Knocking down eight three pointers in the first 15 minutes, the Fort Wayne Mastodons kept themselves in the game with volume shooting from deep. The Wildcats struggled to contain the two marksmen, Kason Harrell and John Konchar, who combined for 31 points in the game. While it appeared Fort Wayne was going to shoot UK out of their 2-3 zone, they remained in the zone for the majority of the second half and ironed out their first half issues, cruising to a 86-67 win.
Standout performances from the game were from Konchar who finished with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals on 5-of-9 from behind the arc and Kentucky’s Nick Richards who broke out for 25 points and 15 rebounds going 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The former did not shy away from the high rated recruits and did all he could to pace his team. The 6-5 guard made a number of high IQ plays and turned heads with his vision and ability to shoot the three ball as well as play in the post. He cut hard to rim and made UK’s freshman look foolish at times with his craftiness. It was clear that he simply knows how to play the game.
For the Wildcats, Richards’ length was too much for the Fort Wayne interior players and he showed a lot of fight going after misses on both ends. He has good rebounding potential and should only become more of an impact as he continues to fill out his 6-11 frame. Though he didn’t attempt many jump shots, Richards went perfect from the free throw stripe, which should be seen as a plus for the big man who is now 84 percent from the line on the season. The freshman showcased a solid right hook around the rim and a good ability to grab an offensive board and go back up with contact. A noticeable knock on the kid was he seemed to really labor up and down the floor and didn’t seem to be in the best conditioned shape.
From Fort Wayne, senior guard Bryson Scott followed up a poor first half with 15 points in the second. Averaging 21.2 points a game, Scott has a lightning quick first step and could get into the lane whenever he wanted. He was an average finisher inside and got a lot of scrappy baskets off intercepting passing lanes and being in the right place at the right time. Scott knocked in one three pointer and played a combo guard role for the team. He definitely is a scoring type of guard and can turn the corner exceptionally fast in the pick and roll. He is a stocky guy and his game could translate well in a European pro league.
Kevin Knox from Kentucky was a final notable player. He had a good demeanor and you could tell he was locked in on every possession. He has the look of an NBA wing prospect and he showed a real smooth game on offense. At 6-9, he shot the ball with a very technically sound delivery and could put it on the floor and use a floater in the paint. Knox has clever ways to score and his size is phenomenal. It will be intriguing to see him face longer and more athletic defenders as the season goes on.
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