There are wins, and then there are wins. Kentucky’s 89-62 beatdown of South Carolina this →
By Nick Roush on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 6:30pm
Tyler Ulis’ Nike Kyrie 2’s
Yes, UK’s Point God is wearing the shoes of a Dukie, but I think we can find a way to forgive him. After changing things up frequently early in the season, he’s stuck with the Kyrie’s through most of SEC play.
Jamal Murray’s Kobe 11’s in the Exclusive UK Colorway
Instead of rocking Drake’s OVO Jordan X’s, Murray let go of his Canadian-connection against Georgia for this pair of Kobe’s that are only available in this color to the Cats.
Marcus Lee in the Jordan Retro XI 72-10’s
The 72-10’s are kind of a big deal, but I don’t explain it as well as The Daily Show.
Anthony Davis’ All-Star Game Swag
Nike’s Air Audacity All Star is made exclusively for Anthony Davis’ third All-Star Game appearance. If you check out the heel, the air pockets say “Fear the Brow.” AD will be wearing them in tomorrow night’s game and possibly during tonight’s Skills Challenge.
NEW: Drake’s OVO “Kentucky Blue” Jordan Retro VIII
Earlier today, Drake posted the above picture on Instagram of what he calls “Kentucky Blue” OVO’s and the Key to the City of Toronto. The Retro X OVO’s are kind of a big deal, and have been worn by both Alex Poythress and Jamal Murray this season. Unfortunately, there’s no news on whether or not these will be available to the public, only an Instagram picture and a (likely) All-Star Game appearance.
By Nick Roush on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 5:45pm
— 89 is the most points the Cats have scored this season. 89 points is also the most a Kentucky team has scored on the road since dropping 89 against Florida on January 12, 2010.
— Following today’s 27-point win, the Cats have now combined to win the last three games by 80 points. They beat Florida by 19, and Georgia by 34. The average margin of victory in that span — 26.7 points.
— During the three game win streak, the Cats have hit at least 10 three-pointers in each game. The only other time they did that this year was against Louisville.
— Kentucky’s three-point streak is now 964 games long.
— UK held USC to 32.7 percent shooting. UK is 10-0 this season when keeping the opponent under 38 percent from the field.
— This is the first time over the last 51 seasons that Kentucky has held 8 consecutive SEC opponents to worse than 42% shooting from the field
— Tyler Ulis is the first player in Kentucky history with two 20-point, 10-assist games, after setting career-highs in points (27), assists (12) and three-pointers made (4). He did it all while committing only one turnover. That one turnover led to this play:
— Ulis is the first Wildcat in school history with at least four assists in 18 consecutive games (single game assists available since the 1972-73 season).
— Jamal Murray scored in double-figures for the 23rd game in a row, notching a casual 26 points.
— Jamal Murray is the first player in UK history to begin his career by hitting a three in 25 consecutive games.
— Derek Willis has hit a three in 10 consecutive games.
— Marcus Lee’s 11 points and career-high 13 rebounds were good for his third double-double of the season, the first since Illinois State on November 30th.
By Nick Roush on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 3:45pm
There are wins, and then there are wins. Kentucky’s 89-62 beatdown of South Carolina this afternoon was definitely the latter, a stunning performance especially when you consider all of the crazy things that happened during it.
Tyler Ulis is the story
Coming in, we knew this game would be a challenge. Not only is South Carolina an incredibly physical team, they haven’t lost at home this season and just beat Texas A&M and LSU. The atmosphere seemed ripe for an upset, especially after John Calipari got thrown out of the game two-and-a-half minutes in. While most teams would totally fall apart after an emotional moment like that, this team banded together and kept their composure, thanks in large part to a career performance from Tyler Ulis.
“The story is Coach Cal coached the team through Tyler Ulis,” Kenny Payne said afterwards. With Calipari out, Ulis took over coaching duties on offense, a natural move to anyone who’s watched this team this season.
“I never touched on offense, didn’t have to. Between Cal and Tyler Ulis, they’re on the same page. Tyler Ulis ran the offense. Every now and then I may have interjected something, but at the end of the day, it was his show,” Payne said of Ulis.
With Ulis in control of the offense, Kenny Payne focused on defense, and although I love Cal, that coaching duo might give him a run for his money. With Kentucky’s bigs in foul trouble most of the game, Ulis and Payne orchestrated what may be the Cats’ best performance of the season.
“Coaches gave me the green light to call my own plays,” Ulis said.
Can you blame them? Ulis had a red-letter day, scoring a career-high 27 points and dishing a career-high 12 assists. Oh yeah, he had only one turnover. Ulis is now the first player in Kentucky basketball history to have two games of at least 20 points and 10 assists. Today was his fourth career double-double and his 11th 20-point game of the season.
“It’s time to put Tyler Ulis’ name in the mix for College Player of the Year,” Jay Williams said.
Yes, it is. And no matter how much we love and appreciate him now, it will never be enough.
Ulis is the story of today’s game, but there are some other things to go over, starting with the moment that led to him pulling double duty as coach and player: John Calipari’s ejection.
Calipari got thrown out of the game two-and-a-half minutes in
No one’s quite sure what exactly sparked the confrontation between John Calipari and referee Doug Sirmons. (Or, if they know, they’re not telling.) Initially, Calipari seemed upset with Sirmons for a no-call, but after Sirmons called a technical on him, Cal went beserk, advancing on Sirmons and screaming to the point that Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe had to restrain him. For the second time in two years in Columbia, Calipari was ejected from the game with 17:34 left in the first half.
In moments like this, teams either fall apart or they band together. With Tyler Ulis at the helm, the Cats not only banded together, they took their game to another level. Both Kenny Payne and John Robic said Cal’s ejection lit a fire under the squad.
“I thought it set a fire within our guys,” Kenny Payne said. “I thought they played with ‘You tried to take one of our guys out,’ we’re coming on, we’re going to play with more energy and effort. We’re going to fight more.”
Robic echoed those thoughts, telling Tom Leach, “Cal’s their guy, they play for him.”
A lot of people are saying Cal got thrown out on purpose, but it happened so early that I doubt that. Regardless, seeing that protective, bulldog mentality from the team for their coach is as encouraging as anything. After the game, Calipari tweeted, “I have never been more proud of a team. They are now empowered. They’ve proven that they don’t need me and I love it.”
Considering the team’s he’s coached, that is some high praise.
After dropping a zero, Marcus Lee became a hero
Kentucky wore special edition Nike jerseys today, and for some reason, Marcus Lee’s only had a single zero on it instead of his normal double-zero. Well, like John Robic said after the game, Nike better send Marcus a new version of his normal jersey with a single zero, because after that performance, he’s not allowed to go back. Lee was fantastic, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the season, and first since the Illinois State game on November 30.
“I’m so proud of him,” Payne said of Lee, who only had two fouls in 36 minutes. In a game in which fouls were a major story, that last stat may be the most important. Lee spoke for everyone when he told reporters, “Not fouling feels awesome.”
Tyler Ulis certainly seemed happy to have Lee back on point, delivering him two beautiful passes on a platter, this one off the backboard:
Ulis to Lee makes us all giddy pic.twitter.com/IvX1C1Lirg
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) February 13, 2016
I could watch the bench celebrating after that dunk for the rest of the day.
Jamal Murray’s dunk was better
It’s insane that I’m 900 words into this recap and am just now getting to Jamal Murray’s dunk. Normally, it would be the story of the game. Murray posterized poor Justin McKie, adding insult to a very rough day for the Gamecocks. Murray finished with 26 points, yet another impressive performance. He’s on fire lately.
This was a statement game
With their coach in the locker room, Doug Sirmons on the whistle, bigs in foul trouble, and South Carolina ready to go blow to blow, Kentucky could have shrunk into the shadows. Fortunately, Tyler Ulis and the Cats had other plans.
“Kentucky came in here and proved a point and put a couple black eyes on us.” Frank Martin said. “Their resolve and their will was a lot stronger than ours.”
The Cats are now tied with LSU for first place in the SEC. There’s plenty of basketball left to play, but today’s performance has to make you feel good about March.
For now, take a bow, Tyler.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 3:37pm
The KSR postgame show is currently the No. 1 streamed show in America with over twice as many listeners as the next show on the list.
If you’re not already tuning in, turn your radios and your radio streaming devices to 630 WLAP in Lexington or 840 WHAS in Louisville to hear what Matt Jones and the KSR callers have to say about Calipari’s ejection and the big win.
Or if you would like to be heard, give Matt a call at 1-800-444-8484 or 502-571-8484.
Listen online here.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 3:32pm
Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee took questions following Kentucky’s win in Colonial Life Arena. Here’s a brief rundown of their comments and then you can hear/see it all for yourself below:
— Ulis had the green light to run the offense in Calipari’s offense.
— Lee thought it was “awesome” to not battle foul trouble again.
— They talked about the backboard lob before pulling it off.
— Ulis thought it was the best the team has played across the board all year. “Definitely,” he said.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 3:19pm
By Drew Franklin on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 2:45pm
Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne slid over to the big chair after John Calipari’s early ejection, but he doesn’t want credit for coaching the team to its 27-point win at South Carolina.
In the postgame press conference, Payne admitted he did not coach Kentucky’s offense in the game. He focused on defense and rebounding, and left the offense to its point guard, Tyler Ulis, who is a mini-Calipari in a UK uniform.
“One of the telling things about this game is you saw the influence of what Cal has been teaching offensively,” said Payne. “I never touched on offense, didn’t have to. Between Cal and Tyler Ulis, they’re on the same page. Tyler Ulis ran the offense. Every now and then I may have interjected something, but at the end of the day, it was his show.”
Ulis said the coaching staff gave him the green light to call whatever he wanted to call, occasionally taking suggestions from John Robic. But it was Ulis who ran the offense, which wasn’t any different than if Cal had still been on the sideline.
“The story isn’t someone else coaching the team,” Coach Payne said. “The story is Coach Cal coached the team through Tyler Ulis.”
By Drew Franklin on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 2:15pm
John Calipari felt like two minutes of coaching was all he needed to do in today’s game as he called it quits very early on, leaving Kenny Payne (and Tyler Ulis) to run the show.
Kentucky did just fine without its head coach, taking the top spot in the Southeastern Conference with an 89-62 win at South Carolina.
Ulis and Jamal Murray were terrific. They combined for 53 points; and with another 10 from Isaiah Briscoe, the Kentucky starting backcourt outscored the Gamecocks entire team.
Plenty more to come. (Hopefully from Calipari.)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 2:01pm
There was a scary moment a few minutes ago when Jamal Murray fell on his hand and crumpled in pain. Murray was able to shake it off to hit a free throw, but went to the bench immediately to get it checked out. A few minutes later, Jamal showed us that he’s doing just fine with this posterizing dunk over Justin McKie:
Unbelievable. Right now, I really like my team.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 1:29pm
Kentucky’s rolling in the second half, currently up 55-31 on the Gamecocks. There have been a lot of big moments so far, but this dunk by Marcus Lee off the backboard from Tyler Ulis may be the best:
Ulis to Lee makes us all giddy pic.twitter.com/IvX1C1Lirg
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) February 13, 2016
Here’s Tom Leach’s call of it:
If that doesn’t have you celebrating like this, I don’t want to know you:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2016 @ 1:07pm
What a first half. First, John Calipari gets ejected after going absolutely ballistic on Doug Sirmons. Most teams would have fallen apart after an emotional upheaval like that, but not with Tyler Ulis at the helm. Ulis held his composure and kept the team together, pushing them to playing some of their best basketball of the season. Kentucky leads 41-27 at half.
The only problem? Foul trouble. Both Skal Labissiere and Isaac Humphries have three fouls, while Derek Willis has two. Surprisingly, Marcus Lee only has one. Lee has been fantastic so far, scoring 6 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in the first half.
Keep rolling, boys. Don’t let off the gas.