Wildcats host overmatched Delta Devils
Lexington, KY (Sports Network) – The 22nd-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are tough
to beat at Rupp Arena, and they will square off with a struggling
Mississippi Valley State team tonight. MVSU has lost its first two games by
a combined total of 59 points, including a 78-42 setback to Creighton on
Tuesday. The Delta Devils, members of the SWAC, lost all 10 of their non-
conference games last season, so the poor start is not surprising. Three
returning starters are back for second-year head coach James Green, who did
lead his club to a 9-9 league record.
As for Kentucky, it opened the campaign on Wednesday with a 57-46 decision
over Miami-Ohio. The Wildcats are now 86-18 all-time in season openers and
89-15 in home openers. They finished just 9-7 in SEC play last season,
but better results are expect in 2006-07.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and Mississippi Valley
Mississippi Valley State put forth a miserable offensive effort in the loss to
Creighton last time out. The Delta Devils connected on only 30.8 percent of
their field goal attempts in the clash and turned the ball over 23 times. Even
free throw shooting proved to be a problem area, as the team was an
embarrassing 8-of-18 from the foul line. Demarkus Barnes scored 10 points for
MVSU, as he was the only double-digit scorer in the loss. The only positive
that can be pointed out is that the Delta Devils were able to limit Creighton
to 39.4 percent shooting from the field. Through only two outings, no MVSU
player is averaging more than 6.5 ppg. The fact that the team has made good on
only 30-of-107 field goal attempts is troubling to say the least.
Joe Crawford led the way for Kentucky in the recent win over Miami-Ohio, as he
tallied 18 points in 36 minutes of action. Jamel Bradley and Randolph Morris
pitched in 12 points apiece, and Morris also pulled down a game-high 10
rebounds. Many of the game stats were fairly even between the two teams, but
the Wildcats were able to limit Miami to 31.3 percent shooting from the floor.
Morris is a 6-11 center considered by many to be one of the best players in
the SEC. After averaging 13.3 ppg and 6.0 rpg in a shortened season last
year, Morris hopes to be even more productive in what should be a full
campaign for the big man. Crawford scored 10.2 ppg in 2005-06, but he will get
many more looks this year as the top option at the offensive end of the court.