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The Cats finally get the big win they needed behind Darius Miller’s career high 24 points over the Gators 76-68. Coach Calipari gets his 500th win. The Cats get win #20 on the year. UK extends it’s home winning streak to 33 games, a Rupp record. And all is back to being fine in Big Blue Nation.
Today is a good day. Let’s bask in it together!
We will have more later.
Like you I’ve had enough of the road losses. The Cats let another one get away, well, with the help of good Ol’ SEC officiating. Brandon Knight had a career high 26 points, but again, another close, winnable game down the stretch falls in the hands of the opponent. This time it was Arkansas and former Cat John Pelphrey getting his first win against his former team 77-76 in overtime.
The Cats are now just 0-6 on the road in conference. You’ve heard the rest of the story, it’s very upsetting.
I have to question the play call drawn up there at the end of OT and not calling a timeout at the end of regulation. Interested to see what Cal says on the post game.
Enough for now. I’m calling it a night in Catland.
Is there a better way then to start the day with a recap of yesterday’s game? Didn’t think so. TGR’s field correspondent, who prefers to be referred to as THECATSFAN15, checks in on the Cats win over the Gamecocks:
The basket was really that big today for the Cats.
It was like throwing the ball in the ocean for UK early and often. The Cats started the game 15-0 and never looked back, beating South Carolina for the second time this season, 90-59.
The Cats hot hand came from an unlikely candidate, UK Junior Darius Miller. Miller poured in a career high 22 points behind 6-10 shooting, all 6 buckets from three point territory. On top of the point production Miller also had 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
There isn’t too much you can say about this one honestly, the score doesn’t lie. The Cats poured it on the Gamecocks with relentless pressure defense and hot shooting which South Carolina just didn’t have the answer.
Let’s have the stats:
– 5 Cats scored in double figures; Miller 22, Knight 12, Jones 19, Lamb 18, Liggins 11
– Terrence Jones tacked up his 10th double double on the year (19 and 12)
– As a team the Cats shot 11-20 (55%) from three, USC just 6-23 for 26.1%
– UK was 50% exactly from the floor (29-58) behind 15 assists, the bulk from Knight’s 9
– The Cats won the rebounding battle 42-30
– The Wildcats held South Carolina to just 34.4% on the day
– Free throw shooting was big, 21-27 (77.8%)
Well, it wasn’t pretty, but Rupp Arena continues to prove to be a safe haven for these Cats. They battled, struggled to close it out, but in the end were victorious over MSU, 85-79.
If you had to use the last two outings verse the Bulldogs as an indicator of what tonight’s game would be it would be spot on. Vegas was easy money tonight but not if you were shooting for a blowout.
The Bulldogs came into the game shooting a collective 34% from three on the year, but as we have seen so often from opposing sides, lit it up from deep, going 12-22 (54.5%).
As bad as the perimeter defense was for the Cats their protection of the ball and ability to shoot well themselves kept them in it. At one point midway through the first half the Wildcats were down 11 but were able to mount a small run to get it down to 5 points with few seconds remaining. Then chaos ensued.
Brandon Knight received the inbounds pass right at mid-court and proceeded to jump into his defender and throwing up a hailmary. The officials whistled for the foul and MSU head coach, Rick Stansbury, went ballistic in his best Mike Davis impersonation. Stansbury received a technical for his antics and Knight was able to close the gap to 1 after hitting 4-5 free throws in an odd turn of events.
Coming out of the locker room the Cats’ shots started falling and they never looked back. In fact, they shot 67.1 percent from the field in the second half and 56.1% overall in the victory.
Four Wildcats finished in double figures. Brandon Knight led the Cats with 24 pts. (8-15), 7 assist and 3 rebounds. Hos 11th such outing on the year. Terrence Jones added 17 and 10 behind an efficient ball game minus the foul trouble. Doron Lamb shook his funk and hit 7-8 shots, including 3-3 from three. Lamb finished with 20.
Junior Darius Miller came off the bench after being listed as questionable for a groin injury in the Vandy loss. Miller had 13 including 3 3-pt. field goals.
In the end a good win to get back on track for the Cats as they welcome South Carolina into Rupp on Saturday. Yet, there are a number of things to work on including perimeter defense and closing out games with efficient, smart basketball.
UPDATE: I almost forgot! What did you all think about the hideous viewpoint ESPN decided to go to? Of course they choose to do it during a UK game. I am sure BBN isn’t pleased.
Well, that was disappointing. Kentucky falls to 1-5 on the road in the SEC. Not much you can say about this one, it was close, the Cats battled, but the inability to defend the perimeter was the Cats demise. Despite a valiant defensive effort behind DeAndre Liggins, the Dores’ John Jenkins put up career numbers with 32 points, 6-10 from 3pt range.
We will have more on the game later, time to clear the mind after another adrenaline rushing, edge of the couch, game I so dearly hate.
F-u Kevin Stallings!
Bruce Pearl’s return to Rupp Arena and return from prison wasn’t quite the welcoming he had hoped for. The Cats led this one from the start and mounted a 21 point lead at one mark in the game behind a 1st half run of 17-2 and a second half spurt of 11-0. In the end the Vols tried but couldn’t overcome the sea of blue, 73-61.
DeAndre Liggins was the star for the Cats with superman-like hustle on the defensive side of the ball, essentially shutting down Scotty Hopson and controlling the offense alongside BK. Liggins finished tying a career high with 19 points, 4-5 fg, 2-2 3pt, 7-8 ft, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals to just 2 turnovers.
Josh Harrellson had Liggins back in the paint (or on the nail? Whoever gave Jimmy Dykes the liberty to rename the paint?). Harrellson had a Louisville-like performance with 16 points and 6 rebounds, 4 being on the offensive glass. Don’t let the stats paint the picture for you. Harrellson’s hustle, IQ and positioning all night made it extremely difficult for the Vols 4-5’s to get any kind of production all evening.
In the end, Bruce Pearl’s comeback had no effect on the game or the Vols’ performance. Brian Williams was wrong, Rupp is really loud, and John Wall did the “Y” as everyone suspected. Still no word on who Kenny Chesney gave up his $38k court-side seats to.
On to the notables:
– 4 out of the 5 Kentucky starters finished in double figures. Darius Miller chipped in 7 and Doron Lamb with 9.
– Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones had off games if that is possible. Combined the had 22 points and 10 turnovers. That isn’t fair to BK, TJ had 8 of the 10, there I said it. Moving on.
– The Cats outrebounded the Vols 34-24 and pulled down 13 offensive boards.
– UK shared the ball tonight like they did earlier in the year. Maybe it’s a Rupp thing and UT didn’t understand. The Cats had 22 made field goals to 14 team assists.
– Another solid performance from the freebie line, UK hit 22-27 for 81.5%.
– The Cats are now above .500 in the SEC and have extended the home game winning streak to 30, 2nd to Duke.