It was a tale of two halves for the Bahamas Select Team as they withered away to the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the second half, falling 98-74, at the Baha Mar Convention Center yesterday.
The game was a part of the Wildcats’ Big Blue Bahamas Tour, and it was the final game of the summer for both teams.
Kentwan Smith led the Bahamas Select Team with 18 points. Leading all scorers in the game was the Wildcats’ deep threat Antonio Reeves as he canned 22.
The game was evenly matched percentage-wise from the field as The Bahamas shot 48.2 percent while the Wildcats shot 50 percent. A closer look at the stats sheet shows The Bahamas shot better in the first half – at a 60.9 percent clip, but they shot only 39 percent in the second half. The Wildcats shot 37.5 percent in the first half and 66.7 percent in the second half.
The difference in this matchup was rebounding as The Bahamas was outrebounded 43-28. The Bahamas only had eight rebounds in the second half as the Wildcats controlled the glass. They had 24 rebounds in that half.
Head Coach for the Bahamas Select Team Moses Johnson said that the team moved away from the plan.
“The game went well,” Johnson said. “The first half, we were connected defensively. We got consistent stops and we ran our plays and got scores. The second half saw the guys break down
mentally. Defensively, we had a breakdown. We let one guy hit about four threes consecutively. We cannot have that basketball lapse when it comes to Kentucky. All-in-all, the guys gave a good effort and we hung in there for the most part, despite it getting away from us at the end,” Johnson said.
The Bahamas led 34-26 with 5:31 left in the first half, thanks to a 6-0 scoring run. However, an 11-0 run from the Wildcats gave them a 37-34 lead with 1:26 left in the first half.
Bahamian veteran player Jaraun “Kino” Burrows led The Bahamas’ side with 11 first half points but Kentucky held a slim 41-40 lead at the half, ending it on a buzzer-beating layup.
In the second half, Reeves who scored six points in the first half, was the player Johnson spoke about earlier. The Kentucky guard came to life to burn The Bahamas’ side with four made three-point shots in less than a three-minute span. His final three-point shot gave the Wildcats a 70-59 lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats scored at will as they shot 66.7 percent from the field.
Taking over the coaching duties for the Wildcats was their assistant coach Orlando Antigua. Head Coach John Calipari was watching from the stands as his assistants took over.
“The tour was a huge success for us as a team. The games that we played gave us a chance to learn a lot about ourselves. In this game, The Bahamas’ team was physical, well-coached and had a bunch of veterans. It was a quick turnaround from last night’s game (Saturday) to this game. We got a chance to see a lot of things and we got tested a little which was great,” Antigua said.
The host federation Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) now turn its attention to the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Americas Qualifiers second round. The team that played yesterday is not the team that will be representing The Bahamas at the Kendal G.L Isaacs National Gymnasium on Thursday, August 25 against Venezuela. According to Johnson, The Bahamas can expect to see all three National Basketball Association (NBA) Bahamian players – Chavano “Buddy” Hield, DeAndre Ayton and Kai Jones – in action on August 25 as they team up for the first time ever.
For Kentucky, Antigua said the team and their families had a good time in The Bahamas. The tour began on August 8.
The Wildcats won all four of the games they played. They took down the Dominican Republic Select Team, 108-56. They were victorious 102-40 over Tec de Monterrey University out of Monterrey, Mexico. In the other game, they won 118-56 over Carleton University.