The Kentucky Wildcats had no problem disposing their first round opponent in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Even without the presence of PJ Washington, Kentucky still steamrolled the Abilene Christian Wildcats 79-44. The 2-seeded Wildcats will now go on to the Round of 32 to face the winner of the 7-10 matchup between the Wofford Terriers and Seton Hall Pirates.
Kentucky led wire-to-wire in this one, holding leads as large as 36 points throughout the contest. It was nothing short of an emphatic showing, and is their most lopsided victory in the Round of 64 under head coach John Calipari.
The Wildcats were led to victory by the play of Keldon Johnson. Johnson scored a game-high 25 points and needed just 10 makes from the field to get there. He shot 7-for-11 on 2-point tries and 3-for-5 from 3-point land. Johnson’s 25 points were the second-most he’d scored in a single game all season, falling two shy of the 27 he put up against the Tennessee State Tigers all the way back on November 23, 2018.
Reid Travis and Tyler Herro joined Johnson in double figures with 18- and 14-point performances. Herro didn’t make a either of his two from outside, but was 7-for-10 inside, and he’ll certainly take that. Meanwhile, Travis was a proficient 8-for-9 on inside shots and came a rebound shy of a double-double. Speaking of rebounds, it was EJ Montgomery who led in that category with 11.
Kentucky had 44 rebounds to Abilene Christian’s 17, which is quite the differential, we’d say.
UK still hasn’t lost a single first round game under John Calipari. They will aim to make it to the second weekend for the third year in a row on Saturday when they face off with either Seton Hall or Wofford. If they do it, they would also achieve the feat for the eighth time in their last nine NCAA Tournament appearances, with the 2016 Wildcats being the only ones who haven’t made it through the first weekend since Calipari got to Lexington.