After flying high after the rout over Kansas, the Cats needed to be pulled back →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 10:21pm
After flying high after the rout over Kansas, the Cats needed to be pulled back to Earth a bit, and tonight, the Boston Terriers tried their best to play the spoiler. Of course, UK still won by 24, but that seems to be a pattern this season: even with an incomplete performance, the Cats are big and strong enough to cruise. Let’s go through the highlights.
Hangovers are real, yo
The first half wasn’t pretty. As predicted, UK jogged out of the gate after the huge win over Kansas, and to their credit, the Terriers were truly pesky, nipping at the Cats’ heels like the friskiest of Jack Russells. “We did not fight in the first half,” Calipari said. “I expected a letdown, I was just hoping it wouldn’t be too bad.” After the game, Boston head coach Joe Jones acknowledged that his squad may have caught Kentucky at a good moment after the thrilling win over Kansas.”I thought it was always hard to get up for a game like this when they had such a big game and they played so well in that game,” Jones said. “I was using everything at my disposal.”
Jones is a character and obviously loved the spotlight of UK’s stage. After he was done with his press conference, he “accidentally” tried to walk into the wrong locker room, joking “Is this Kentucky? I’m going to change teams.”
Really, can we keep him?
Ryan Lemond tackled the UK mascot at halftime
In case you haven’t been to a game yet this season, Ryan Lemond now handles halftime festivities, emceeing halfcourt shots. Tonight, the UK mascot made the halfcourt shot, and Ryan tackled him in celebration.
Yes, those are zippers on his back pockets. Zipper pockets on the jeans! Mark this down as a show topic for Monday.
Boston got chippy
The second half escalated quickly. Boston stayed right with Kentucky for the first ten minutes thanks to several fouls from the refs, which sucked up any life in Rupp Arena. The officials called a double technical on Aaron Harrison and Cedric Hankerson, and another technical on Nathan Dieudonne. Boston clearly wasn’t scared of the Cats, jawing and scrapping until the end. In fact, UK only won the rebounding battle by five; however, the Cats opened it up with about seven minutes left, cracking BU’s 2-3 zone by going to their strengths: length and lobs.
Andrew Harrison got mad
Andrew Harrison only had eight points tonight, but I’d argue he shifted the momentum in the second half. After the refs tried to choke any and all rhythm from the court, Andrew got mad, driving the ball, drawing a foul, and sinking two free throws. He followed that up with a beautiful lob to Willie Cauley-Stein. Andrew also had five assists, second to only to Devin Booker, the star of the game. UK shared the ball better than they have all season tonight with 24 assists, the most in a game since dishing out 28 vs. LIU-Brooklyn in 2012.
Speaking of Harrisons, Aaron had a lot of these, too:
Devin Booker took over
Remember when Devin Booker finally found his shot vs. Kansas? That hot streak continued tonight, and in the second half, it seemed like Devin couldn’t miss. He finished with 15 points off 5-8 shooting, 4-6 from behind the arc. Even better were Booker’s seven assists, a team high. Booker admitted that getting his shot to go down vs. Kansas was a huge confidence boost. “Finally got to see a shot go in. so, that was good,” Booker told reporters afterwards. “Shooters keep shooting. I feel like I kind of shot myself out of it and from here on out I’ll be good.”
Still looking for a full performance
It seems crazy, but we still haven’t seen a complete performance from the Cats. Tonight, the offense finally flowed in the second half thanks to Aaron and Devin, but the defense struggled. On defense, Calipari said that against Kansas, UK looked like a “January team,” whereas tonight, they looked like a “November team.” He also issued his standard disclaimers, warning that this team isn’t as great as everyone is making them out to be. “We all expect this team to be world-beaters every time out, and let me say this, folks: they’re not going to be,” Cal said.
I get Cal’s point, but the fact that it’s only November and the team looks this good and still has room to improve has me heading to bed happy. These quotes from Boston head coach Joe Jones help. “They have so many guys that someone is gonna get hot. They are so good,” Jones said. “Even though it was a close game, they were playing as a team. You can win big that way.”
“They’ve got a chance to get better and better. That’s the scary thing.”
Really, let’s keep him.
Meanwhile, in Athens, Georgia…
LOL. No, you don’t.
This dunk by Dominique Hawkins is all you need to see
Dominique got the start after Alex Poythress sat out because of illness, and made the most of it with this dunk, the first of his career at Kentucky. “Now people know I can dunk. I feel like I’m the best dunker on the team,” Dominique said.
There’s no topping that. Enjoy the rare Saturday off.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 10:20pm
Devin Booker admitted his pass to Dominique Hawkins was a little high when he let it go. But, he’s seen Dominique dunk before, so he had very little doubt Hawkins would find a way to go up and get it. And he got it alright. Hawkins took it over the top of a Boston defender and threw it down with two hands, and should’ve gotten a foul call.
When asked about the decision to throw it up to the six-footer, Booker said that’s the way Cal drew it up so that’s what they ran.
Hawkins, on the other hand, wonders why everyone is so shocked by the play. “I feel like I’m the best dunker on the team,” he said with a smile.
I’m not doubting him, not after seeing that.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 10:00pm
Kentucky got off to a slow start against a fearless Boston team but escaped with a 25-point win thanks to a second half run powered by Devin Booker. It wasn’t quite the dominant performance many fans expected after the Kansas game, so there is still plenty to critique and dissect. You can do so by calling in to the KSR postgame show or listening in on 630 WLAP and 840 WHAS. You can also tune in via the iHeartRadio app right here.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 9:52pm
Devin Booker, you’re tonight’s MVP.
The freshman guard set career highs with 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the win. He was the star in the second half that pushed Kentucky to pull away from a Boston team that wouldn’t die. Back-to-back jumpers stand out and, of course, the four or five lobs to backdoor cutters for dunks.
After the game, Cal said, “Devin had seven assists, a bunch were in the zone where we’re throwing that lob. And when he makes shots, we become a little bit different.”
Shooting wasn’t a problem for Booker tonight, something that can’t be said of his last couple times out. He said Cal told him to keep firing and they knew it would eventually turn around.
Great game from Booker. (It’s almost like someone predicted it on the KSR pregame show.)
By Drew Franklin on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 9:20pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 9:11pm
It wasn’t as fun as the Kansas game, but the Cats eventually put away the pesky Terriers from Boston University 89-65.
Aaron Harrison led all scorers with 19, but Devin Booker was close behind with 15 points and an impressive SEVEN assists. Nice MVP pick, Drew Franklin.
More coming throughout the night…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 6:35pm
Alex Poythress isn’t feeling well and will sit out this game, so Calipari says Dominique Hawkins will start in his place and share the position on the blue platoon with Derek Willis.
15 minutes ’til the live blog. The game will be on Fox Sports South, so let’s get an early start on sharing the links…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 6:00pm
This Kansas fan bet a KSR reader that the Jayhawks would beat the Cats. That didn’t happen, so he had to sport Kentucky gear at work today, which I must say is a nice improvement. Isn’t it nice to be on the winning side for once in seven years, Kansas fan?
Tonight’s game will likely be a blowout, so to keep things interesting, let’s set some over/unders:
1. Points scored by UK: 85.5
2. Points scored by Boston: 50.5
3. Dancing Guy rail slides: 3.5
4. Blocks: 11.5
5. Dunks: 10.5
6. Drunk callers to the postgame show: 1.5
7. Platoon changes: 5.5
8. References to the “Can UK beat the 76ers” debate: 2.5
9. Number of times people ask for a link on the live blog: 20.5
10. “Third platoon” points: 3.5
Let’s hear it.
By BrandonRamsey on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 6:00pm
Kentucky Basketball Scouting Report
Opponent: Boston University Date: 11/21/14
- Extremely good 3-point shooting team! 17/40 (42.5%) so far this season.
- They are a jump shooting team; 33 of their 42 field goals have been assisted.
- Very small team. Undersized forwards and no real size on the bench.
- Not the same Boston team from the last couple years, new guys in expanded roles.
#0 G Eric Johnson: 6’2’’ 180 FR.
Not sure if he will get the starting not this evening or not, split starting the first two games with fellow freshman Cheddi Mosley. Johnson is an athletic guard who can do a little bit of everything.
#2 G John Papale: 6’3’’ 190 JR.
3-POINT SHOOTER!!! Papale is one of the best pure shooters in the country, shooting well over 40% for his career. He has already connected on 6 of his 13 attempts this season and is second on the team with 14 points per game. While he is certainly a shooter first and foremost, he is a pretty good passer and can get some offensive rebounds.
#21 G Cedric Hankerson: 6’5’’ 190 SO.
Hankerson is definitely the Terriers best playmaker; he is averaging a team leading 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game so he knows how to make plays for himself and others. He will shoot the 3 a lot, but what he is best at offensively is getting to the foul line. Very good all-around offensive player.
#22 F Nathan Dieudonne: 6’7’’ 225 JR.
2012 Kentucky Mr. Basketball from Trinity High School. Nathan has had a very good career for Boston through his first 2 seasons, he started all but 1 game last season and averaged 5.2 points to go with 4.7 rebounds. Through the first 2 games this season he is averaging 8 points and a team leading 9.5 rebounds. Can knock down an open 3.
#32 F Justin Alston: 6’8’’ 220 JR.
Alston is an athletic forward who can score in some creative ways around the basket. He is one of the few Terrier players who isn’t a shooter. Not a very physical around the basket.
#15 G Cheddi Mosley: 6’3’’ 175 FR.
A very talented, athletic guard who started the opening game for Boston. He is a very, very good 3-point shooter and will really be looking to score when he is in the game.
#3 G Eric Fanning: 6’5’’ 190 SO.
Fanning redshirted last season after transferring from Wagner where he had a very solid freshman campaign. He is a good athlete who provides some size on the perimeter. Fanning can shoot the 3, but is at his best going to the basket and getting to the foul line.
Keys to the Game
- Don’t be over confident. I think that how we come out and play early this evening will tell a lot about this team and our leadership. We already had a slow start in a classic “trap game” versus Buffalo, so I would like to see us avoid that tonight. I know we just beat Kansas by 32, but let’s come out and take care of business from the opening tip.
- Dominate the glass. This is essentially always going to be a key for Kentucky because it is something we should do against every single team on our schedule. Against the Terriers tonight, with nobody over 6’8’’ in their rotation, we should be able to get second chances and finishes around the rim at will.
- Protect the 3-point line. Our length and size should help us really contest their 3-point shots and turn them into drivers. Most of their rotation guys can really shoot, but they aren’t nearly as comfortable when attacking the rim off the dribble. If we can make them turn down 3’s for contested 2’s this could be a long night for BU.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 5:21pm
BREAKING NEWS! According to Ryan Lemond and his mysterious sources on the KSR Pregame Show, Alex Poythress is sick and is doubtful for tonight’s game.
Is this Derek Willis’ night to shine? Sam Malone says he’s joining the headband brigade:
— Sam Malone (@SamMaloneuk13) November 21, 2014
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 5:00pm
Our ole pal Seth Greenberg was on “SportsCenter” today to discuss this weekend’s games, and when asked his thoughts on Kentucky, Greenberg said this squad is one of a kind. “They are special, there is no doubt about it,” Greenberg said. “The thing that impresses me most is they play together. They share the basketball. When blue platoon is on the court, the white platoon is engaged.”
Greenberg scoffed a bit at the undefeated talk, but did say that in order to beat Kentucky, teams will have to control the tempo of the game. “How you beat them is you have to own the tempo of the game. You either have to speed them up or slow them down. You gotta keep them off the glass,” Greenberg said. “But this team has great depth, great talent.”
So far, we’ve yet to play a game in which the outcome is still in question in the final five minutes, but Greenberg said he’s curious to see who Cal plays at the end of the game if it’s close. “If they get in a possession basketball game, a time and score game, how are they going to handle it? Who’s going to be on the floor?”
This goes back to Cal’s “finishing five” question we tackled a few weeks ago, but after three real games, I’m going with the Harrison Twins, Trey Lyles, Willie, and Karl Towns.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 21st, 2014 @ 4:25pm
Only a few more hours until the Cats take on the Terriers, which gives me an excuse to post this classic clip from “Best in Show.” Once that’s over, tune in to 630 WLAP for the KSR pregame show with Matt, Drew, and Ryan live from the Rupp Arena food court. The show will be streaming live on WLAP.com.
Feel free to comment below.