Though the NJIT Highlanders stuck with Kentucky for most of the first half and trailed by just 8 points at the half, it was the hometown Wildcats who emerged victorious by an overwhelming margin, 87-57.
Skal Labissiere and crew were just too much to bear. The freshman was something else in this Saturday night duel, as he scored 26 points on the night in 21 minutes of play, which included 18 points in the first half.
NJIT was led by an impressive early shooting effort from the field. A hyper-efficient night was needed for the Highlanders considering the offensive rebounding advantages for a team of Kentucky's stature athletically and size-wise. On the night, UK pulled down 22 offensive boards while outrebounding NJIT by a 54-23 margin.
Damon Lynn was able to pour in 19 points for the Highlanders and led their efforts early by hitting three 3-pointers within the first six minutes of the game.
NJIT shot a poor 30.9 percent from the field, but that's of no surprise against a team with the quickness and length of UK. Tim Coleman (10 points) and Ky Howard (13 points) contributed enough to be of note for the losing squad. After starting 8-10 from the field, the Highlanders shot 9-45 the rest of the night.
Even for those who aren't the biggest fan of "moral victories" one would have to think that excitement surrounds the program after it hung with Kentucky until around the 16:30 mark in the second half when Kentucky's athleticism from the likes of Alex Poythress, Derek Willis, Marcus Lee, Tyler Ullis and more began to take over. A 34-10 run to start the half sent things all down hill for the visitors anyway.
The visiting Highlanders sure had a lot of hype coming into the season. The A-Sun newbies are coming an excitingly successful season and the stakes are higher for the Highlanders with the possibility of competing for the Atlantic Sun title making things a bit more enthralling.