Star freshman John Wall continues to find ways to keep Kentucky unbeaten. He probably won’t have to get too creative in the Wildcats’ next game.
Wall and the fifth-ranked Wildcats take on winless UNC Asheville at Louisville’s Freedom Hall on Monday night.
In his college debut Nov. 16, Wall made a winning shot with 0.5 seconds left as the Wildcats avoided the upset and beat Miami of Ohio 72-70.
He came through again late in the Cancun Challenge title game against Stanford on Wednesday night. Wall hit a tying jumper with 30.6 seconds left, then sent the game to overtime with a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining.
Wall, who scored a season-high 23 points, punctuated the 73-65 victory with a dunk as time expired.
“NBA, that’s all I’ve got to say,” teammate Patrick Patterson said. “John Wall is a pro player and he wants the ball in crunch-time situations. Whenever we need a basket or something on the offensive end, John is going to be the one to do it.”
Wall led the Wildcats in scoring in four of his five games and is averaging a team-best 19.8 points.
In UNC-Asheville, Kentucky (6-0) faces one more lesser opponent before its schedule gets considerably tougher.
The Wildcats face No. 11 North Carolina at Rupp Arena on Dec. 5 and take on No. 13 Connecticut in the SEC/Big East Invitational in New York on Dec. 9.
One of the nation’s worst defensive teams, Big South Conference member UNC-Asheville has lost its first five games for the first time since 2001-02. The Bulldogs are allowing 89.2 points a contest on 49.7 percent shooting.
They nearly rallied for their first win against visiting Furman on Friday night. Sophomore guard J.P. Primm, averaging a team-best 12.2 points, scored 14 of his season-high 20 in the final three minutes of a 72-66 loss.
The defeat was UNC-Asheville’s first by single digits this season.
“We played a little better against Furman but just not well enough to win,” coach Eddie Biedenbach told the school’s official Web site. “We’re a much better shooting team than we’ve shown so far. Our defense has to get better. We’re just not playing like we’re capable of right now.”
In their only game against a ranked opponent this season, the Bulldogs suffered the worst loss in program history, 124-49 at then-No. 10 Tennessee on Nov. 17. They have lost 19 straight by double digits to Top 25 teams.
Kentucky won the last matchup with UNC-Asheville 86-41 at home Dec. 7, 1999. The Wildcats took the other two meetings by an average of 49.5 points.