The Journey highlights Rookie Takeover in win over Razorbacks

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim03/04/24

Everything changed when Rob Dillingham entered the game for Kentucky with 7:50 to go vs. Arkansas. The Cats had just been down nine less than a minute before after being up by double-digits to open the second half.

It could have been easy to let go of the rope. Instead, Kentucky stormed back to not only win, but push ahead by 11 with 45 seconds left on the clock before closing out with the 111-102 victory. A five-man group of freshmen consisting of Dillingham, DJ Wagner, Reed Sheppard, Justin Edwards and Zvonimir Ivisic led the way through the finish line, no substitutions in the final 5:42.

Another day, another new way to win for the Cats. And we have a new edition of The Journey to show for it.

“Justin Edwards, to do what you did, do you know how mentally tough you must be? And how much your confidence in yourself has been, like, otherworldly?” John Calipari told the team after the victory. “That win and how you did it, and a bunch of young guys with a couple of vets, one just coming back? Everybody is 19 and younger, 20 years old? You guys — do you know how good you could be? You’ve got to defend. How do you think Z did today? Aaron also played his ass off. Ugo did some good things.”

It was Dillingham, though, who scored 13 second-half points with four assists and a steal in 12 minutes to really shift things down the stretch. That move took guts in the first place because the freshman guard replaced Antonio Reeves — inarguably one of the best players in college basketball — the final two segments of the game.

“Now, here’s what I did, the First Team All-American player, I subbed for what reason? He hadn’t been out. It’s the only reason I subbed him, wasn’t anything he did,” Calipari added. “But we subbed and got him (Antonio) out of the game and him (Rob Dillingham) in, all of a sudden, what happened to us? Woo! Then I’m not subbing, I’m going to finish the game off.”

It ended up being the right call.

Enjoy it all with the latest edition of The Journey below:

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