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Kentucky uses free throws to defeat stubborn Illinois St.

December 1, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)

Kentucky uses free throws to defeat stubborn Illinois St. 

With their floor general Tyler Ulis out with a hyper-extended elbow injury, Kentucky managed to fight off a sluggish start to defeat a tough Illinois State team 75-63 using the free-throw line to pull out the victory in front of a Rupp Arena Crowd of 21,894 last night (Nov. 30).

Isaiah Briscoe had 18 points and 7 rebounds to lead the way for Kentucky (7-0), who went 29 for 46 (63%) at the charity striped compared to Illinois State’s (3-5) 8 for 10 for (80%).  Isaiah Briscoe fought off the early turnovers and attacked the lane with dribble penetration to finish 4 for 7 from the free-throw line.  Jamal Murray was 9 for 13 from the free throw line and finished the game with 16 points and 5 rebounds, while Marcus Lee had another solid double/double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“Well it’s something we do everyday, were shooting a ton of free-throws.” said UK Assistant Coach Tony Barbee. “Especially against Illinois State, we wanted to take advantage of them opening the floor the way that they defended ninety-four feet and we wanted to attack the rim and put them in positions to foul and we did a good job of that tonight.  We didn’t shoot the free-throws as well in the first half as we did in the second half, but were working on it, guys are getting better.”

The Redbirds took advantage of Kentucky without Tyler Ulis on the court creating turnovers with their pressure and 5 guys roaming the perimeter while playing physical basketball.  While Kentucky forced up shots, Illinois State jumped out to a 7-1 lead with 16:28 remaining in the first half after a 3 point shot by sophomore forward Mikyle McIntosh.  Kentucky would take its first lead at the 10:32 mark at 16-15,  but would have just as many turnovers 6 as they did field goals at that point.  Neither team would gain an advantage going into the halftime tied at 31 points a piece.

Kentucky uses free throws to defeat stubborn Illinois St.

Jamal Murray – Photo Credit: Andre Chapman/Analyzed Sports

At the start of the 2nd half the Wildcats would apply more energy on the defensive end to help build a 56-40 lead on a 25 to 9 run with 11:49 remaining in the game.  The Redbirds would use senior guard DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell’s 22 point effort to keep the score within striking distance, but the free-throw line would prove to be too much for Illinois State to overcome who would drop their third game in six days.

Kentucky shot 22-51 from the field for 43.1% while Illinois State shot 25-70 from the field for 35.7%.  The Wildcats only had a 39-37 rebounding advantage, but loss on the offensive boards 14-12.

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