Well, the Cats took it on the chin again on the road last night, losing a hard fought battle 68-66. Although these Cats are learning day by day and game by game, this performance followed the script of UCONN, UNC, and Georgia. Teams that get physical and bully Kentucky, can get them rattled and take control of the game. Bama did this after falling behind early, but chipping away by getting EVERY loose ball there was the get and by, amazingly enough, knocking down the 3 ball.
The Tide came into the game having made only THREE 3 pointers in the last 3 games total, but netted 4 in the 1st half last night. This propelled Bama to a 37-30 halftime lead, which ballooned to a 20 point lead with 15 minutes left in the game. Kentucky, to their credit, battled back to close the gap to 1, but a costly turnover on a handoff from knight to lamb, essentially turned the lights out on the rally.
My player of the game honors goes to Terrence Jones, who carried UK down the stretch by scoring time and time again in the post. He ended the night with 17 points and 9 rebounds and also one HUGE cursing out by Calapari!!! The cameras could and should have gone away from that scene as they knew Cal was upset, but that’s TV for you.
This is a different version of the Cats from last years Freshman ladened team, and no I’m not saying that they’re not as talented as the 2009 Cats were, but they’re just not as tough. NO ONE bullied the Cats last year and when a play needed to be made, they simply just made the play. Kentucky, because of the way they shoot the ball, will always be in the game, it’s just when it’s crunch time, who’s going to step up and make a play? They get out hustled far too many times to loose balls and get pushed around an awful lot as well. Teams like Florida, Miss. St., UT, Vandy will feast on UK’s unwillingness to make hustle plays and inability to make plays down the stretch. Not saying that UK won’t win those games, but just recognizing that this team, MENTALLY, has a ways to go.
Next up is another road game and test at South Carolina, Saturday. We’ll see how they respond!
GO BIG BLUE!!!!!