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November 25th, 2015

Poythress and Skal push Kentucky past a cold shooting night at Rupp

© Mark Zerof | Getty

© Mark Zerof | Getty

Judging by the first few minutes, it looked like Kentucky was going to wipe the floor with Boston; however, the Terriers lived up to their mascot’s reputation by nipping at the Cats’ heels throughout the game until Kentucky eventually pulled away to a 82-62 win.

It’s late, so let’s run through the highlights.

Alex Poythress was the star

It surprised me on Friday and it still surprises me now that Alex’s double-double against Wright State was only the third of his career. He followed that performance up with another double-double tonight, putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds off 7-8 shooting. Alex wasn’t perfect — Calipari berated him for a slow start — but he finally clicked into beast mode and gave Kentucky a much-needed inside presence on a night outside shots weren’t falling.

“I thought Alex — I subbed him four seconds in. He didn’t go after a ball. Athletically, you’re an athlete, explode and go get balls, even if it’s on the floor. And he stood there and watched it. Boom, you’re out.”

“Then he got back in and he’s a double double and he could be dunking every ball, making free throws, getting fouled. I mean, that’s who he is and that’s where we got to get him back to.”

Alex played well enough that Calipari told him after the game that he thinks he should be starting.

“I just said, when I went in after, I think he should be starting, but we’ll figure that out. He’s a starter, it’s just he or Marcus.”

Speaking of Alex, let’s watch that lob from Ulis again:

Want to know what Kentucky looks like when they’re cold?

Look no further than tonight. Last year, Kentucky was able to survive cold shooting nights with smothering defense and post play. Tonight, we saw what could happen when Kentucky’s guards go cold. Kentucky shot only 3-15 from three, a paltry 20%. It wasn’t much better from the free throw line, where Kentucky shot 13-26 for 50%.

“We do have good shooters, we just don’t have good makers,” Cal quipped. “I will say this, we got, you got to make some threes, you can’t win good games being 3-15 from the three-point line. And we have been that now since the beginning of the year.”

Tyler Ulis was 1-5 from behind the arc, but Calipari is encouraging him to shoot through the mini-slump.

“We’ve got to make some threes,” Cal stressed. “Right now Tyler’s not making them. I just told him, you got to shoot ’em. You got to let it go.”

Skal continues to progress

Labissiere was the leading scorer tonight, with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 turnovers, and 1 steal. For anyone else, that’s a pretty impressive stat line; for Skal, it’s just scratching the surface of what could be.

“Skal did some good stuff. He’s coming, but he’s still got some things he’s got to do,” Cal said, continuing to reference Karl Towns’ struggles early last season. “He’s getting better. Look, last year, I think I’m going to get for him to see where Karl was in some of these games, because it may have been Buffalo he had 3-pointers and two rebounds last year, Karl did. Couldn’t get it to the basket, was shooting fade aways, couldn’t get a ball, had a couple blocks and it’s going to take time.”

Like Karl, Skal continues to react well to Cal’s criticism.

“If I wanted pats on the back, I could have gone anywhere else,” Skal said.

Charles Matthews was the unsung hero

We know the top six in the rotation — Ulis, Murray, Briscoe, Labissiere, Lee, Alex — but beyond that, it’s been a bit of a mystery. Derek Willis, Isaac Humphries, and Charles Matthews have all battled for the seventh man spot, but tonight, it was Matthews that impressed the most. The freshman shooting guard put up three points, seven rebounds, and endless hustle in 18 minutes of play.

“I thought Charles Matthews was outstanding,” Cal said. “I think he moved into the rotation now. If you ask me, he changed the whole game. It’s not what he just did offensively, it’s what he did defensively and coming up with balls and being active and trying.”

Isaac was held out, but should be good to go Friday

Humphries has been battling a foot injury and although he dressed tonight, he did not play; however, Calipari said he should be good to go vs. South Florida on Friday.

“Isaac, I didn’t play him today only because of his foot. He limped around for a couple days. But I’m thinking South Florida, who won today by the way, beat Albany. I’m thinking that he has a chance, because that’s a game. They have a couple guys that I think he could guard that he can play with.”

Meanwhile, Dominique Hawkins got some minutes at the end when Jamal Murray got into foul trouble and appears to be getting back to full strength.

We teach ’em young in the Bluegrass

Ten years old and he’s already better at spotting walks than Karl Hess.

How did Boston’s coach compare this team to last year’s?

Boston’s strong first-half performance was reminiscent of last year’s game against Kentucky, when the Terriers were within five at halftime. Head coach Joe Jones was asked to compare last year’s team and this year’s team, and his response sounded pretty familiar.

“They’re both remarkable teams,” Jones said. “They’re both really talented teams. Obviously, last year had more depth than this year’s team. I thought the girth and size of last year’s team was unbelievable. This year’s team, the guards may be a little more skilled  — Briscoe, Ulis, Murray — than the guys that played the bulk of the minutes last year. But both teams are very talented, both teams are very long, both teams execute at a pretty nice level, both teams play as a group. I just thought last year’s group had a little more depth up to this point in the season.”

Depth or this trio of guards? Never thought I’d say it, but I’m taking the latter.

Josh Hutcherson was in the house

On a night with so many Hutchersons, was it a coincidence that a certain Hutcherson was in the house? For those of you who actually get that inside joke, I think not. Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson was courtside at Rupp tonight, his second appearance at Rupp. Although I’m happy he supports the Cincinnati Reds, I suggest he get a blue hat next time.

Cal is Already Taking Shots at Louisville

John Calipari is taking his team to South Beach for Thanksgiving.  He doesn’t normally like to do anything around the holidays, but the schedule wouldn’t allow him to give his players any time off.

Looking ahead to Christmas, he already plans on giving his players four days off to go home to see their families, even though they play UofL December 26.  Cal told all of the fans that wonder why he won’t be preparing them for Louisville: “Cause I’m not worried about Louisville.”

He’s going to give his players off because that’s what Swaggy Cal does.

November 24th, 2015

Everything John Calipari said after the Game

COACH CALIPARI: I said, let me think about that before I ask you. No, they’re a good team and I’m still fighting guys. I thought Alex — I subbed him four seconds in. He didn’t go after a ball. Athletically, you’re an athlete, explode and go get balls, even if it’s on the floor. And he stood there and watched it. Boom, you’re out.

Then he got back in and he’s a double double and he could be dunking every ball, making free throws, getting fouled. I mean, that’s who he is and that’s where we got to get him back to.

I didn’t think — Skal did some good stuff. He’s coming, but he’s still got some things he’s got to do. Again, we got to make some threes.

And right now Tyler’s not making them. I just told him, you got to shoot ’em. You got to let it go.

I thought Charles Matthews was outstanding. I think he moved into the rotation now. If you ask me, he changed the whole game. It’s not what he just did offensively, it’s what he did defensively and coming up with balls and being active and trying. And I said, look, get in the gym and shoot free throws. If he makes free throws, he’s in that seven-man rotation and he pushes guys out.

Q. You mentioned the early play there with Alex. But there were a couple times he seemed to not be worried about his body, threw himself at people mid air —
COACH CALIPARI: He’s getting better.

Q. Is he forgetting about it more?
COACH CALIPARI: I told the team after, I’m not going to accept anything other than an elite athlete when I watch him play. If he’s not an elite athlete, he’s out. He’s not playing. Because he’s capable of doing it, it’s just really hard. And it’s having to have him break through some confidence in his body.

So, I’m kind of demanding it and he — I love what I’m seeing. We got to make some threes, you can’t go 3-15. I think on the year we’re shooting 23 percent. 22 percent. And we’re still scoring a lot of — think about it, what I’m saying. What if we made five or seven more threes. And we’re capable of that. We’re just not doing it right now.


Cal on the Cats’ 3-Point Shooting Woes

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The guard-oriented team went ice cold for one of the first times this season.  Balls rolled all around the rim, but just wouldn’t go in.

“We have good shooters, we just don’t have good makers,” Calipari said.

20% performance’s can happen from time-to-time, but he wants to see Tyler Ulis take a more active role behind the arc.  “We gotta make some 3’s.  Right now Tyler’s not making ’em.  I told him he’s gotta shoot it, ‘You gotta let it go.'”

It was one of those nights, but at least they knew when to quit, only taking 15 on the night.  Hopefully it’s only one of the few bad outings, and not the start to a slump.

Nobody’s Impressed Cal more than Charles Matthews

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Charles Matthews only had 3 points, but it isn’t what he put in the box score that impressed his head coach.

Coming off the bench, Boston Coach Joe Jones said Matthews was disruptive with three consecutive offensive rebounds.  Cal needed somebody to provide energy off the bench during a tight stretch and Matthews did the trick.

“He moved into the rotation now.  I thought he was outstanding.  If you ask me he changed the whole game,” Calipari said.  That praise didn’t come with a caveat, “If he makes free throws he’s in that 7-man rotation and he pushes guys out.”

Matthews totaled 7 rebounds but missed 3 free throws in 18 minutes of action.  Matthews’ heart has gotten him playing time, but he’ll need to improve his execution to remain a permanent fixture.

Watch Highlights from UK’s Win over Boston

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

When you miss a lot of shots, there’s a lot of opportunities to clean up the glass with dunks.  Alex Poythress took advantage of that opportunity early and often.

Watch Calipari’s postgame press conference



Kentucky Fights for a Win over Boston, 82-62

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It was never easy, but the Kentucky Wildcats took care of business in Rupp Arena.

It was a cold shooting night against Boston’s zone defense, finishing only 20% from behind the arc, but Kentucky persisted in the paint to overcome their shooting woes.  Things got chippy at times, but Kentucky kept their heads high until coasting to a 20-point victory down the stretch.  Skal Labissiere’s hook shot was smooth and Alex Poythress was powerful on the offensive glass.  The two combined for 30 points and 17 rebounds.

The big question for this year’s team, “What happens if the guards aren’t hitting their shots?”  Even though it wasn’t pretty, they answered that question tonight.

Skal Showed the BBN What He’s Got



Skal Labissiere has been the difference in tonight’s game.  A cold shooting night from 3-point land against the Boston zone defense left them without many options early on, until Skal made them feel his presence.

His hook shot was money, no matter if he was one-on-one or challenged with a double-team.  When the guards split the zone, he was there to finish.  Not just with the finesse; he showed us physicality we hadn’t seen before.

Nearing a 20-point performance on the offensive end, he’s shown up better than ever before on the defensive end.  He’s missed on some shot-blocking gambles before, but tonight he had one of the most unbelievable blocks I’ve ever seen.  Sitting under the same basket, I didn’t think he could get to it, but his arms just kept going, and going, and going.

Skal is proving he’s the player we all thought he could be – one of the best post players in America.


Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day


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You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

#10 Juwan Burgess 11/14

I love what you’ve done to the place.



#9 Heather Ley

When they lost to Kentucky 2 years in a row. Duh.



#8 Taborn Kissick

Burn them now.



#7 Tim Shearer

I mean they are going to be live in Louisville tomorrow.



#6 T

Slaps knee.



#5 Justin Wyatt

I can’t tell if those are tears of joy or sadness, so let’s go with sadness.



#4 John Robic’s Hair

Matt Jones never stops dreaming.



#3 ☕netw3rk

So much sadness.



#2 Autumn Woods HC

This might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.



#1 Backdoor Slider

Let’s not ruin Becca’s life by introducing Kentucky Joe to her.




John Pelphrey was an Unforgettable “Y”

John Pelphrey double-dipped tonight, leaving the SEC Network’s play-by-play table to be the ceremonial “Y” at midcourt during the second half.

He got a standing ovation from everyone…except a jealous fan from District 12.

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UK vs. Boston University Second Half Thread



Great start, ugly middle, great finish. Admit it, the first half had you a little worried, but Kentucky got it together and leads Boston 40-33.

Time for the second half. Remember, CTRL+F5 and Command+R will refresh the page for you.

Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson is at tonight’s game

Kenny Sky Walker isn’t the only celebrity at Rupp tonight. Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson is courtside to see the Cats play the Boston Terriers. Something tells me he’ll be the Y in the second half.

Will the eRupption Zone do this again?

UPDATE: Another pic of Hutcherson…


Your Halftime Box Score