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Apr 2

Dreams of #8 Fall Short, Cats Slip to UConn 56-55

Posted by: Ryan at 11:42 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

As much as it hurts to piece together my post game thoughts on the game I will hold my head up high and do just that. The Cats have had a remarkable season and one loss is not going to change anything they were able to do. These guys fought hard all year long to get where we are today and we hadn’t lost since @ Arkansas on February 23rd, an amazing run to end the season. Don’t forget that.

As with any loss there are the obvious negatives like the Cats inability to put the ball in the basket, shooting just 33.9% from the field and only finishing with 55 total. As they often have all season long the freshmen carried the team tonight, combining for 41 of the 55. The veterans got us here, but were unable to produce like they had in the previous nine games. Harrellson, Liggins, and Miller were tentative all game long, hesitant to play with a purpose, and ultimately combined for only 14 points.

Kentucky lived and died by the three tonight, going 9-27 for 33.3% (ironic). They also shot the ball terribly from the free throw line (4-12 for 33.3%), if I had to put a finger on the difference in the game that would be it. Overall the shooting was horrific, possibly due to the largest final four crowd ever of 75,421 and the depth perception of playing in Reliant stadium, but that is no excuse, UConn had the same situation. 21-62 for 33.9% is eerily similar to last year’s elite exit vs. West Virgina.

As for the biggest play of the game, it had to be the front end of the one and one for Terrence Jones right out of the timeout. From that point on it was panic mode for the Cats. Jones went 0-5 from the line.

I also have to question the diagrammed 3-pt shot by Liggins when the Cats were down 2 with 16 seconds remaining. I understand the philosophy, but playing for overtime is the safe call. In the post game DeAndre admitted the play was not designed for the deep shot but he felt open and took it.

Brandon Knight shook off a slow start and led the Cats in scoring with 17 points, Lamb 13 and Terrence Jones with 11.

Many of you will say “Next year is ours”, and I agree, but we have to be appreciative what this team was able to accomplish in the face of adversity. They came together at the right time, were playing their best basketball heading into the tournament and one bad night ended it. Remember when we couldn’t win a road game? They fought through it and ended up being the overall favorite to win the whole thing!

Let’s be patient for next year, enjoy what has been done and celebrate UK’s 14th Final Four. At least they were able to get that monkey off our back, now on to the next step, #8.

GO CATS!

 

Mar 27

Payback Cats Are Final Four Bound! Cats 76, UNC 69

Posted by: Ryan at 8:17 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

Here’s the box score, enjoy!

Mar 27

CATS ONTO THE FINAL FOUR – Beat UNC 76-69

Posted by: Ryan at 7:52 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

We will have more in a bit, soak it up folks. Reports coming out of Lexington already of fires everywhere, people dancing on cars, in the streets, flashing down Columbia….. Keep it clean!

Mar 26

CAN-tucky!!! Cats Pull The UPSET, Beat Buckeyes 62-60

Posted by: Ryan at 12:11 am | Leave a Comment (35)
Category: Game Wrap

Was there ever really any doubt? The Cats got their matchup and pulled off a super-tight one with Brandon Knight hitting a clutch jumper with 5.4 seconds remaining to punch their ticket to the Elite 8. They will face North Carolina on Sunday evening.

How important is this win for Coach Cal and the program? How important was that shot by Knight? I sure hope that we will see that replay over and over year in and year out! Now, on to the game….

Jared Sullinger who? Our man Josh Harrellson played 1-v-1 to perfection as Coach Cal opted to not double team OSU’s big man on campus. Harrellson finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Sullinger got his, 21 points and 16 rebounds, but it was the ability to collapse on the perimeter shooting of the Buckeyes that proved to be the difference in the game.

Charles Barkley said it in the post game, you have to give Coach Cal all the credit in the world for that move. Not only did it slow down the OSU attack, it forced the Buckeyes into their worst shooting performance of the season! Coming into the game they shot right around 50% from the floor, tonight just 19-58 for 32.8%. Now that is some defense.

With the Cats slowing down the pace of the game they found themselves in half court sets all night. All that was left to do was run our offense, and they did just that. Kentucky made their shots when they needed to, hit their free throws, and closed the game out with a set play. The Cats shot 45.8% from the field, only attempting 48 shots, hit 6 threes, and made 12-14 from the line.

In the first half the officials called it very tight on the Cats, most of the starters entered the locker room with 2 fouls a piece. The second half was a different story. The script was flipped and the calls started to fall the Cats way. The difference from the line was arguably the difference in the game as well, UK 12-14, OSU 16-22.

Coming into the game DeAndre Liggins was the defensive presence the Cats needed to slow down the Buckeyes attack. He not only lived up to that calling, he made some crucial baskets midway through the second half. Liggins finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Brandon Knight was the star of the game for hitting the final shot, but he failed to reach double figures for just the 3rd time this season. Knight was rattled all evening long by Aaron Craft, OSU’s heralded freshman. But, when it mattered most, Knight put the team on his back and didn’t disappoint.

In the end the Cats played intelligently, efficiently and won a game they should have. It’s on to Sunday at 5:05 to play North Carolina for a trip to the first final four in 14 years for the program. UNC beat Marquette handily to advance to the regional final.

UPDATE: With that final bucket for Brandon Knight he broke the freshman scoring record at Kentucky held by the #1 overall NBA draft pick, sir John Wall. How about them apples?

Now for the box score:

Mar 19

Cats Advance Behind Knight’s 30, Beat WVU 71-63

Posted by: Ryan at 2:31 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

The Cats came out hot and got an early 7-pt lead. A few lapses in defense and despite 50% shooting fell behind to West Virginia by 8 at the half. Whatever coach Cal said at half time worked because they rattled off 10 straight points behind Brandon Knight’s assertive play to take the lead to start the second.

The defensive intensity that lacked in the first half picked up and from there on out it was back and forth as we all thought this game would progress. In the end the Cats held on, limiting West Virginia’s open looks and by hitting clutch free-throws down the stretch, beating the Mountaineers 71-63.

Brandon Knight returned from his game winning-2 point performance against Princeton with a career-high 30 points and excellent game management. Knight had 3 rebounds  and 4 assists but most importantly followed through on his shot and ran the offense effectively.

Josh Harrellson was a monster with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Harrellson grabbed several huge rebounds late in the game which kept the Cats in it.

Terrence Jones seemed to come out of his funk/sickness with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Early in the game Jones drifted out to the perimeter and the Cats weren’t able to get any good looks inside. The second half was a different story as Jones found his post on the block and was able to fit into the offense sets.

Kentucky was outrebounded in the first half , but put together a solid second half on the glass, and outrebounded WVU 34-29, the deciding factor in the game. West Virginia was 1-8 on the year when being outrebounded and today the Cats fought hard to take the edge for the game.

UK shot 48% from the floor (better than last year’s 34% outing) and 33% behind the arc to West Virginia’s 41.5%. The Cats defense was good but West Virginia was able to hit their shots. In this one it was all about limiting their possessions, going after 50/50% balls and cutting off Mazzulla’s penetration lanes. Mazzulla finished with 20 but had 14 of them in the first half. DeAndre Liggins can take credit for that.

We now advance to Newark for the Sweet 16 and face the winner of George Mason/Ohio State on Friday night. At this point we should just be happy to be where we are and anything above and beyond what these Cats have been able to achieve should be a bonus. A bonus I will take any day.

Mar 17

Cats Escape Failure, Beat Princeton 59-57

Posted by: Ryan at 6:44 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

Kentucky moves on to face the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday after beating Princeton on a last second shot by Brandon Knight 59-57. It was Knight’s only points of the game but when it mattered most coach Cal wanted the ball in the hands of his most productive player.

Knight didn’t have the best game, 0-7 from the floor until that final basket. He seemed to be rattled all day long by the Princeton pressure.

But, what the freshmen didn’t do the veterans did. Senior Josh Harrellson, Junior Darius Miller, and Junior DeAndre Liggins answered when they were called upon to produce.

Harrellson finished with a double double, 15 pts, 10 rebs, and a career high 4 steals, arguably his most important performance outside of the Louisville game.

Miller was phenomenal. He created his own shot all day and scored a team high 17 points.

DeAndre Liggins didn’t have his best defensive performance but he hit shots at critical times in the game to keep the Cats in it. Liggins finished with 8 points.

All season long we wondered how this team would preform when the freshmen stars were off. Today we got our answer. Knight had 2 points, Jones had 10 and Lamb had 7.

It’s on to Saturday (time TBD) to get the rematch on West Virginia, a team that ended the Cats dreams of a final four run last season. West Virginia knocked off Clemson 84-76 to advance.

 

Mar 13

Catlanta Gives The Cats Another SEC Championship, Beat Gators 70-54

Posted by: Ryan at 2:02 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

Now that is how you win the SEC tournament. The Cats got serious and showed no mercy yet again beating the Gators 70-54 to claim their 2nd straight SEC Championship and 27th overall.

The Cats came out of the gate showing no signs of slowing down from the prior two battles. They stayed focused on defense, executed on offense, and kept the energy level on high the entire game.

Defense was critical and Kentucky forced Florida into 14 turnovers to our 6 (execution), held Florida to 38% shooting and just 35% from three. Kenny Boynton was the only Gator in double figures with 10. The Cats won the battle of the boards as well 31-29.

For the Cats Darius Miller was the hot hand, he finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Brandon Knight poured in 17 and 4 assists, Terrence Jones added 16 and 7.

Doron Lamb and DeAndre Liggins, both coming off ankle sprains, showed no signs of a let down. Liggins gave the Cats a huge lift on defense and chipped in 10 points to boot.

Darius Miller was crowned the tournament MVP for his consistent play over the three game stretch, Josh Harrellson and Brandon Knight were named to the All-Tournament team alongside Florida’s Chandler Parsons and Kenny Boynton.

The Cats move to 25-8 on the year headed into the NCAA tournament, we will see what the brackets have in store for us. All bets are on a Tampa destination.

Mar 11

Not This Time! Cats Beat Ole Miss 75-66

Posted by: Ryan at 5:54 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

It was a tough, hard fought contest, and the Cats prevailed 75-66. UK will get another shot at revenge as they move on to the semis to play Alabama at 1 pm EST.

The Cats didn’t play their best brand of basketball today but they kept Chris Warren in check for the most part with ball denial defense by Doron Lamb and DeAndre Liggins. Warren still finished with 20 but the Cats limited his shots at pivotal times in the game.

Speaking of Doron…. Lamb hit shots when they needed it most, he finished with 19 to lead the Cats. Miller (15-7), Harrellson (13-7), and Knight (17 including 7 straight points to finish the game) all pitched in with solid efforts as well.

We will have more on today’s game and tomorrow’s upcoming matchup against the Crimson Tide in a bit.

Mar 6

Cats Will the Win, Take One In Knoxville 64-58

Posted by: Ryan at 2:15 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Game Wrap

Finally, the Cats found a way to will the win in a scenario that has played out ever so often this season. UK fought hard against the Vols, despite foul trouble and poor first half shooting, to come back and get the win in Knoxville 64-58. To the victor goes the spoils and most importantly the Cats locked up the #2 seed for the SEC tournament. They will play on Friday @ 3:30 vs. the Ole Miss/South Carolina winner.

The star of the game for the Cats has to be Brandon Knight. Knight was 0-6 from the field until the final the final seconds of the first half, making a runner in the lane just as the horn sounded. The Cats went into the half within 7. Out of the gate Knight hit 3 difficult contested 3’s to give the Cats the lead. A lead they would not relinquish. Knight finished with 17 in the second half and 19 overall.

Miller and Liggins played well, a half a piece, Liggins the first and Miller the second. Miller hit some big shots late in the game and finished with 15 on 5-10 shooting. Liggins had two drop step slams in the first half along with hitting a couple jumpers but the key takeaway was the he held the Vols’ leading scorer Scotty Hopson to just 2-10 from the floor. Liggins fouled out with just under 5 minutes remaining but was still in Hopson’s head the rest of the way.

Harrellson didn’t necessarily have a great game, however he snagged some critical rebounds at key points of the game. Josh finished with 5 rebounds and no points.

Terrence Jones played aggressively, something that has come to fruition of late. Sure, he gets his shot blocked but it’s good to see him take it up strong against the defender. Jones didn’t have the best game but finished with 15 and 12, hitting some key free-throws in the final minutes.

– Kentucky outrebounded UT 32-30 and 12-8 on the offensive glass

– The Cats only shot 35.8% from the floor to UT’s 38.3%

– UK had 10 assists to 19 made baskets

– Kentucky shot 19-27 for 70.4% from the charity stripe

– The Cats lock up the 2 seed in the SEC tourney, play Friday at 3:30 vs. Ole Miss/South Carolina winner

 

Mar 6

The TGR Pick; Tennessee

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 11:30 am | Leave a Comment (7)
Category: Game Wrap

And if the wind blows east, would you follow me, And if the wind blows north, would ya stay your course, And if the wind blows west, would ya second guess, And if it blows to the south, would you count me out, And if the sun don’t shine, would you still be mine, And if the sky turns grey, would you walk away, Would you say I do, if I say I’ll be, And walk this road through life with me… To say that the ‘away’ schedule for the 2010-2011 Cats has been a “lonely road of faith” would be a large understatement. We have done our best here at The TGR Pick to change the fortunes of our Cats. We have changed the music we quote each game, we have changed those who help predict and set the TGR Pick each game, we have changed our thought process on who we pick to win, and we have worn the same underwear for days in order to make things right for Kentucky in hostile environments. If not for a lone victory in a skanky techno bar in Columbia, South Carolina, we would have a perfect road record for the year in the SEC. We have attempted to assist you in your quest for cash, win or lose for the Big Blue, but things are not going as we would have liked. We have a winning record, but like the Cats, we had higher expectations for this season. Let’s move on and look at the previous games results…

Kentucky -8 vs. Vanderbilt – Over/Under: 148.5

The TGR Pick: Kentucky 81 – Vanderbilt 71

Final: Kentucky 68 – Vanderbilt 66

If you are keeping score at home, The TGR Pick’s record falls to 28-23-2 with the 0 for 2 we took on Senior Night in Rupp Arena. Do we care? Not really, the Cats won and by now, we are out of any Christmas money we might have still been hanging on to. We are as focused as a possum in the headlights for this afternoon’s senior Day celebration in Knoxville, so let’s get to it.

Kentucky -1 vs. Tennessee – Over/Under: 137.5

Some have the game as a “pick’em’, but we have tiger blood running through our veins and are going with UK -1. Are we rocketing towards the moon? Yes. Are we winning? Maybe. Here is the part of the post you have skipped down to…

The TGR Pick: Kentucky 78 – Tennessee 72

Bruce Pearl’s final game in Knoxville will end in a loss and he will have on a puke orange sports coat. Could your Sunday be any better than that? Take Cal’s Kiddy Cats and the “over’ in a few minutes in Knoxville. Kick’em in the Vols! C! A! T! S!


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