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November 23rd, 2014

Kentucky sneaks past Montana State, 86-28

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

That, my friends, was a lopsided basketball game. Montana State, a team that recently lost to Grand Canyon by 16, made the long trip to Lexington for a shot at the nation’s best and it did not go well for the Bobcats. Not at all. UK held them to 19 percent shooting on 61 attempts in the entire game. Blocks, there were plenty of them and some were violent. The official count credits UK with 12, though it seemed like 80. It was a 40-minute defensive performance from the boys in blue and white.

Let’s discuss a little bit of it, shall we?


UK held Montana State to 28 points. Twenty. Eight. Points.

It was the lowest point total from an opposing team since the invention of the shot clock. Take a second to process that one. No UK opponent was as bad at scoring the basketball in one game. And somehow, please tell me if you know, this same Montana State team scored 78 points against UCLA last weekend. That tells me fans should be pretty confident about the game in Chicago next month.

Montana State went over 13 minutes without scoring.

There were no bigger Montana State fans in the world than the 22,000 people wearing blue in Rupp Arena. Rarely do you see Big Blue Nation passionately cheer for the visiting team, but that was the case during the second half when the poor Bobcats couldn’t add to the scoreboard. We knew right away the game was headed that direction when Montana State couldn’t get the ball up the floor. It was laughable for a second, then it became sad because it was so unfair.

It was a rough start for Kentucky, believe it or not.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the final score but the Cats got off to a very poor start. They went 0-for-10 from the field to begin the game and actually trailed by one point at 2-1. Coach Cal said, “We score one point in the first four minutes. Come on, are you kidding me? Now we were good enough to hold them to two, but that’s ridiculous. And again, we have got to work on that. We can’t start games like that.”

Montana State made one more field goal than Kansas, so there’s that.

Just another reminded of how truly special that win in Indianapolis was.

Book ‘em Devin.

After scoring 15 points against Boston Friday night, Devin Booker’s hot hand continued with 18 points to lead all scorers on Sunday. Booker held a late game lead over Montana State, the entire team, at 18-17 with a little over seven minutes left, but he fell in the end, 28-18.

The freshman has been putting in a lot of work on his shot before and after practices. He made some changes to his footwork and it’s been very clear the hard work is paying off.

The 2012 block record is in serious jeopardy.

Kentucky holds the NCAA record for blocks in a single season with 344 in 2012, the Anthony Davis season. That team averaged 8.6 blocks per game on the year. Assuming this team plays 40 games, and that’s a very realistic assumption, it will break that record if it keeps up its current pace of 9.8 blocks. They’re on track for 392 right now.

Alex Poythress recorded another DNP.

Calipari expects Alex to practice on Monday and return to action Tuesday night against UT Arlington. He’s been missed but it’s been a blast watching Dominique Hawkins get more PT.

If Sam Malone isn’t your favorite player on the team, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

I’ve watched this well over a hundred times and I’m not slowing down.

You gotta get that board, B-Long.

Dan Issel joined us on the KSR pregame show and he was great.

Ryan and I called up Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer from the radio bullpen to help us close out the pregame show. Issel had a lot of good things to say, especially when I asked him if he could play in a platoon system. “No, I have to play more than a half,” he said. You can listen to the entire interview below:

And with that, I’m off to enjoy my Sunday night.

Go Cats, everybody.

Karl Towns says the team wanted to hold Montana State to 11 the rest of the game

Photo by UK Athletics

Kentucky held Montana State scoreless for over ten minutes in the second half; at times, it looked like the Bobcats might stay at 11 points for eternity. To say Kentucky is a great defensive team in a huge understatement. After the game, Karl Towns, who had a career-high six blocks, told reporters that the team wanted to keep Montana State at 11 points the rest of the game.

“We really don’t pay attention to our score, but to the opponent’s score and we try to keep them to the lowest amount of points as possible. When we saw that 11 (points scored in the first half) we really wanted to keep them there. We didn’t even talk about offense. We talked about making sure we hold them to 11.

That obviously didn’t happen, but you’ve gotta love the effort.

Tonight’s Instajams and Instablocks

Somebody hit Tyler Ulis in the leg with a chair at halftime

Where was Tyler Ulis at the beginning of the second half? According to John Calipari, Ulis got hit by a chair, which is why he was late to check in. “Somebody hit him in the leg with his chair, one of the managers. He got fired,” Cal joked.

Alex Poythress sat out his second-straight game with an illness, but Cal said he’ll return to practice tomorrow and should play on Tuesday. Phew.

Cal’s latest metaphor: the 100 lbs. coat

John Calipari loves himself some metaphors. Tonight, he trotted out his latest to explain what it’s like to play at Kentucky: the 100 lbs. coat:

“What these kids deal with to be here, to play here, to be a part of this program, they wear a 100 lbs. coat. What I mean by that is it starts with me. I am rough on them, I am tough on them, I am holding them to a high standard. I am like a hawk, I see everything. I’m coaching them the entire time. They’re getting better, it is not an option. You will get better. That’s me.

Then they’ve got this environment we live in here, which is like ridiculous. That’s another 20 pounds of the coat. Wait, what about the media? ‘They’re gonna win 45 straight, they can beat the 76ers, let’s vote on it’–what?? Then they’ve got their own clutter that’s around them individually that they have to deal with. That’s 100 pounds. The people coming, in the players have windbreakers. They’re loose as a goose, they’re just gonna go play, if I make shots, if I don’t, watch this. Every game we play–and I say this, if you’re not willing to wear the 100 lbs. coat, you don’t come here. You can’t come here because it’s not changing. I’m not changing, I don’t think our fans are changing. I really don’t think the media’s changing and the clutter around these kids, it’s all the same.”

100 lbs. coats, coming soon to The KSR Shop.

Put on your headband and listen to the KSR postgame show

That was fun, wasn’t it? End your weekend by listening to Matt Jones talk about UK’s rout of Montana State on the KSR Postgame Show, which starts here in just a few minutes. You can listen in on 630 WLAP and 840 WHAS.  You can also tune in via the iHeartRadio app right here.

Montana State coach says “at times, you feel helpless” playing Kentucky

© Mark Zerof

© Mark Zerof

You had to feel a little bit for Montana State head coach Brian Fish after the game. At the beginning of the game, the crowd actually gave his team a pity cheer when they finally made it across midcourt, a telling sign of their struggles throughout the night. Fish said after the game that John Calipari told him that tonight was the second best game Kentucky’s played all season. “He said that’s the second best game they played all year. It certainly felt that way. At times, you feel helpless because you don’t know which guy to attack,” Fish said. “It’s McDonald’s All-American after McDonald’s All-American.”

When asked why this was the second best performance by his team all season, Cal pointed to the defensive intensity. “We sustained defensively for the entire time, just like we did against Kansas,” Cal said. “Issue is we played the same way on offense, almost the same.”

And it’s only November.

Cal remembers his daughter’s birthday, guys

One of the “Are you serious?!” headlines yesterday was John Calipari messing up his daughter’s birthday on Twitter. Because Kentucky is #1 and there was apparently nothing else going on in the world of sports, the story made national headlines. Cal couldn’t believe it either, and brought Megan a birthday balloon to the press conference, telling reporters “Just so you know, I know my daughter’s birthday.”

He said that “Good Morning America” invited him on to talk about messing up Megan’s birthday, but later admitted that was a joke, but he’d go on the show if asked.

Only at Kentucky would that make national news.

Highlights! Come and get your highlights

Montana State’s 28 points were the fewest allowed by UK in the shot clock era

UK held Montana State to 28 points. 28 freaking points. That’s the fewest points allowed by UK in the shot clock era. Phew. This is the same Montana State team that scored 78 points vs. UCLA earlier this season, which should give you a nice preview of what UK’s game against the Bruins will be like in a month.

28 points.

UK 86 Montana State 28

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.55.59 PM

Be legendary.


UK vs. Montana State LIVE BLOG

Live Blog UK vs. Montana State LIVE BLOG

Nike Alert: New custom kicks for tonight’s game

Kentucky basketball has received another custom shoe design, and this time it’s a Lebron James signature shoe. These new kicks look awesome, so who do you think will wear them tonight?

We’re about to find out in just 30 minutes.

Scouting Report: Montana State Bobcats


Kentucky Basketball Scouting Report

Opponent: Montana State University                      Date: 11/23/14


  • Hungry, hard-working team still searching for their first victory.
  • Multiple perimeter players that can really shoot from 3.
  • Pretty experienced group with a splash of young talent.
  • Lost to Grand Canyon 61-45.


#22      PG       Marcus Colbert: 5’11’’ 180               JR.

Colbert can really stuff the stat sheet for the Bobcats.

Colbert can really stuff the stat sheet for the Bobcats.

Colbert is playmaking guard who can really shoot it from beyond the arc. He has had a great career already for the Bobcats and has had a very good start to his junior campaign averaging about 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists per game.

#3        G         Michael Dison: 5’9’’ 160                  SR.

He is one of four Bobcats players who are averaging in double-figures so far this season. Dison is obviously small, but makes up for it with his all-around scoring ability. He can play either guard position and is a pesky defender.

#0        G         Zach Green: 6’4’’ 195                       FR.

Green is a true freshman who has started the first four games for the Bobcats, but may have lost his starting spot after the big game Stephan Holm had earlier this week. Green has pretty good size on the perimeter and is a good athlete. Not overly aggressive offensively, more of a slasher and offensive rebounder.

#34      F          Danny Robison: 6’8’’ 225                 JR.

He is a skilled stretch-4 who is leading the Bobcats in scoring through their first 4 games at 12 points per game. He also pulls down a team-leading 5.5 rebounds per game. He can really shoot it from beyond the arc, we must take away his catch-and-shoot 3’s.

#2        C         Blake Brumwell: 6’7’’ 250                SR.

A very physical, but undersized presence on the low block. Brumwell is a very hard worker and uses his strength to bang around down low with taller players. He is averaging around 5 points and 4 rebounds per game.


#1        G         Stephan Holm: 6’3’’ 175                   SO.

Holm went for 20 points off the bench in their last game.

Holm went for 20 points off the bench in their last game.

Holm is very versatile offensive player who exploded off the bench for 5 3’s and 20 points in their last game against Cal State Northridge. He is now averaging just over 12 points per game and has attempted 30 3-pointers in just 4 games.

#24      F          Eric Norman: 6’9’’ 220                      SR.

Norman provides some size and experience off the bench for the Bobcats. He has the skill to play on the perimeter and the size to work down low, but is probably more comfortable outside. He is a good 3-point shooter and offensive rebounder.

#13      F          Terrell Brown: 6’4’’ 200                   JR.

Brown is extremely athletic and can shoot the 3 ball. His athleticism and strength allows him to be a very good rebounder for his size as well.

Keys to the Game

  • Dominate the paint. Once again, taking advantage of a huge mismatch in size and athleticism will be crucial for the ‘Cats. UK’s big men should be able to have their way down low.
  • Contest 3-point shots. The Bobcats have a number of guys who can shoot it from the perimeter, and a couple can really get going (Holm, Robison, and Colbert). If we can turn catch-and-shoot 3’s into contest 2’s it should be an easy victory.
  • Strong start. After another slow start against BU, it would be great to see the Wildcats jump out and put Montana State away early. Luckily, in both slow starts so far this season we have gotten everything rolling and still won comfortably. One way or another, tonight’s game should be a big win for Kentucky.

Brandon Ramsey