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No power, no problem for Tyler Herro as his 22 points leads Kentucky to win

Tyler Herro (Chet White/UK Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas might have lost power late in the first half of Kentucky’s game Thursday night, but that didn’t diminish the punch the Cats had on the court.

Behind 22 points by new crowd favorite Tyler Herro, Kentucky pulled away in the final 10 minutes to beat San Lorenzen — a pro team from Argentina — 91-68 for its second straight exhibition game win.

“There are players and there are basketball players. We have basketball players this year. A lot of them,” former UK standout Rex Chapman tweeted while watching John Calipari’s team play.

Herro was 7-for-10 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3point range, and 4-for-5 from the foul line. He also had two rebounds and two assists. He has 39 points in two games now in the Bahamas.

“The kid is fearless,” SEC Network analyst Dan Dakich said.

“Jeff Shepherd is a good comparison (for Herro) but he has to play better defense,” SEC Network analyst Seth Greenberg said. “He has to be able to guard. On the offensive end, though, he can play.”

Herro hit a 3 late in the first half off a fast-break assist from Quade Green that Dakich really liked.

“That good point guard play. Push it, find the guy on fire. Sounds simple but so many guys can’t do it,” Dakich said.

That’s when the lights went out. The game was finally stopped and started back in the second half thanks to a generator. However, the SEC Network was not on the air and neither was the UK Radio Network. Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones did a live periscope that enabled thousands of UK fans to watch until the power came back on for the SEC Network to get back on air.

Kentucky had five other players — P.J. Washington (15), Keldon Johnson (13), Reid Travis (11), Nick Richards (10) and Green (10) — in double figures. Freshman Immanuel Quickley had six points, seven rebounds and five assists while Ashton Hagans, another freshman guard, had four points and three rebounds. (E.J. Montgomery and Jemarl Baker did not play because of injuries).

It was the second straight impressive game for Richards, who was basically a non-factor the last two months of last season for UK.

“That was a big time move by Richards. Great footwork. Can really tell (assistant) coach (Kenny) Payne and his individual improvement in year two has Richards playing so much more comfortable,” Mercer County coach Josh Hamlin, a friend, told me after Richards scored on a spin move inside.

2 comments

  1. Herro is a player! He already knows what to do with the ball as soon as he gets it. It’s rare to see a freshman come in that polished. He has great jumping ability. And in spite of the ESPN clown posse had to say his defense was not bad at all. I got the distinct impression they decided he couldn’t play defense because he is white. Other people on the floor were getting badly beaten on defense but they didn’t draw a word of criticism. I saw some plays where Herro did quite well on defense.

    It’s very early anyway. The team has not even worked on defense but they seem to expect Tyler to be playing at late season form while ignoring the lapses by other UK players. Pretty disgusting IMO. Greenberg was bad but Dan Dakich was terrible about it. That’s nothing new for him of course.

    And once again Richards looked like a completely different player than he was last season. His ability to use his feet and his soft hands are both night and day different from his play last year.

    We saw glimpses of what Reid can do also. He needs to adjust to playing in the world of BBN basketball where he faces the best every team has to offer every game. He came to the right place to learn to play pro-style basketball. That’s not to say he wasn’t good. He was very good. I just think he will be better.

    This team is LOADED with talent. Maybe Cal should bring back the platoon system after all. They have the players to do it. Don’t really want to see that but the competition for playing time is going to be intense.

  2. I echo everything King said above.

    Basketball is a team sport, but individual offensive skills certainly are more important to the team’s offensive success than individual defensive skills. Therefore, the picking apart Herro’s “defensive short-comings” seems way out of proportion when compared to the bonus contributions that his offensive excellence brings to the team.

    The team’s defense in these first 2 games has been quite good. The offense was lackluster, as we all saw, in game 1, but the offense was stellar in game 2. The actual offense, over the long haul, will fall somewhere in between these extremes, which still indicates a strong offensive team.

    Strong offense coupled with strong defense is the formula for team success.

    This team has it.

    Looking forward to watching the next two games this weekend.

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