Sidelines with John Clay

Liveblog: Kentucky 96, North Dakota 58

Looking for improvement after last Friday’s win over Southern Illinois, Kentucky plays host to North Dakota from the Summit League at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The SEC Network has the telecast.

We’ll be providing live updates and analysis from above the floor at Rupp Arena. You can follow us on Twitter at @jerrytipton, @benrobertshl, @markcstory and @johnclayiv.

Final: Kentucky 96, North Dakota 58

Final box

2H 7:48 - Kentucky 74, North Dakota 42: Nick Richards picked up his fourth foul on a personal, then his fifth on a technical foul with 9:41 left. The center finished with two points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. He grabbed 19 rebounds on Friday against Southern Illinois. Such inconsistency has been the story of his short UK career.

UK has a 37-13 edge on the boards against the shorter Hawks. Reid Travis and Keldon Johnson each have seven rebounds. UK has 15 offensive rebounds compared to nine defensive rebounds for UND.

Rupp Arena attendance announced at 18,555.

2H 11:57: Kentucky 64, North Dakota 36: Cats have had this one in hand for quite awhile. PJ Washington has 15 points for Kentucky. The Cats have made seven of 12 shots in the second half. Points off turnovers: Kentucky 27-6.

2H 15:47 - Kentucky 57, North Dakota 32: Tyler Herro now up to 14 points and the freshman guard has five steals. Herro had made just four of 17 shots his first two games. He’s five-of-seven from the floor tonight.

Halftime - Kentucky 46, North Dakota 25: PJ Washington led UK with 10 points in the first half. The Cats shot 51.9 percent for the half, but were just four-of-14 after starting 10-of-13 from the floor.

First half box

1H 4:00 - Kentucky 39, North Dakota 25: UK led by 19 at 39-20 with 4:51 left in the first half until five straight points for the Hawks.

UK is 13-of-19 from the floor for 68.4 percent. The Cats three-of-four from three-point land. And they are up 12-8 on the boards.

North Dakota is nine-of-22 from the floor for 40.9 percent. UND is five-of-10 from three-point range. The visitors have committed 11 turnovers to seven for UK.

After 19 rebounds on Friday, Richards had no rebounds in his first seven minutes on the floor against UND.

Kyle Macy was introduced and honored by the crowd. Kyle disappeared, then returned with two boxes of popcorn as he headed to his seat.

Richards appeared to turn an ankle when called for a charging foul at 7:40 mark.

1H 8:00 - Kentucky 32, North Dakota 18: UK was on a 15-0 run before Nick Richards was called for a goal tend with 8:23 left.

Kentucky now 11-of-15 from the floor for 73.3 percent.

1H 9:54 - Kentucky 27, North Dakota 16: The Cats are on a 10-0 run. After being pulled early, Washington has come back in and scored eight points. He’s knocked down a pair of three-pointers.

UK has made 10 of its 13 shots. The Cats are three-of-three from three. Washington is two-of-two. Travis is one-for-one. North Dakota has made six of 14 shots.

UK is up 10-2 in points off turnovers. North Dakota has committed six turnovers.

No. 1 Duke beat Eastern Michigan 84-48 on Wednesday night. Zion Williamson scored 21 points.

1H 15:50 - Kentucky 12, North Dakota 10: PJ Washington was among the five starters for Kentucky, but was pulled 58 seconds into the contest after allowing an easy basket by North Dakota’s Conner Avants. Reid Travis has sparked UK’s early start with seven of the Cats’ 12 points. Immanuel Quickley has the other five.

Kentucky is a perfect four-of-four from the floor. North Dakota is four-of-six from the floor, including two-of-four from three-point range.

Pre-game notes

Officials for Kentucky-North Dakota are Doug Sirmons, Vladimir Voyard-Tadal and A.J. Desai

Kentucky is currently ninth in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. The Cats rank seventh in offensive efficiency and 24th in defensive efficiency.

North Dakota ranks 232nd according to The Hawks are 256th in offensive efficiency and 200th in defensive efficiency.

Check out my blog for five things to know about the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. UND is 2-0 on the season, including a 63-60 win at Milwaukee last Saturday.

Cortez Seales and Elijah Hazekamp lead the Hawks in scoring at 14 points per game. Hazekamp and Conner Avants are each averaging eight rebounds per game.

Through two games, Keldon Johnson leads UK in scoring at 19 points per game. Johnson also leads the team in minutes played at 31 per game.

Here is the North Dakota basketball roster.

Here is the Kentucky basketball roster.

Next up, Kentucky plays host to VMI on Sunday at 6 p.m. VMI is 2-1 heading into its Wednesday night game against South Carolina Upstate. The Keydets have scored 89, 94 and 98 points in their first three games.

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