BOISE, Idaho — Kentucky beat Buffalo 95-75 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, sending the No. 5 seed Wildcats to the Sweet 16 in Atlanta.
Here are three takeaways from Kentucky’s win.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander takes over
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was 6 for 6 in the first half with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The pace of play was faster than what Kentucky is used to, but the offense didn’t panic with Gilgeous-Alexander manning things.
He might have been even better in the second half. Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He had 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers.
He used his slippery length to get to the rim, and Buffalo’s smaller guards were helpless.
Hamidou Diallo’s edge
Hamidou Diallo’s energy from the Davidson game carried into this one. He had a massive highlight block in the first half and finished with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting with 8 rebounds.
Diallo disappeared in the middle of the season, but he looked like one of Kentucky’s best players on Saturday.
He finished the game with a crazy windmill slam.
Kevin Knox and Sacha Killeya-Jones had 3 fouls a piece at halftime. Nick Richards and PJ Washington had 2. It didn’t affect the result, but a game like this showed how the absence of Jarred Vanderbilt could affect Kentucky moving forward if its bigs get in foul trouble.
Vanderbilt said Friday that he’s day-to-day.
Too many whistles stopped the second half from having any pace. Twenty-one total fouls were called on Buffalo and 20 on Kentucky.