The first game of the doubleheader pitted Morehead State against locals LIU Brooklyn, who were handed a 77-74 loss.
Maryland came out fired up and dominated the offensive boards against the Wildcats in the first half, but poor shot selection on the part of Maryland allowed Kentucky to stay in the game. Maryland only shot 29 percent and were o-for-11 from beyond the three-point line.
Kentucky shot 58 percent in the first half, and even after being dominated on the boards managed to end the first half with a 13-point lead.
“In the first half I think a little bit was nerves, but we were fired up,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. “I think the first media timeout we were right there, we had a lead. Our shot selection was poor.”
In the second-half Maryland slowed down the offense and shot better, but still managed to shoot just 46 percent from the field. The score was 70-69 with eight seconds left when Maryland fouled Jarrod Polson, who hit his two foul shots to ice the game.
“I really was pleased how we started playing in the first half after being together only 22 practices and coming into a sellout crowd with Dickie V. on the sideline,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “We just have a lot of things where guys need to get better individually and things we need to get better as a team. We have a long way to go. I’m happy we got this one, but we could have very easily lost.”
The first game was another one that went down to the wire. Jamal Olasewere scored 26 points for LIU, and Julian Boyd added another 19 points, but had issues with turnovers in the second half.